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Coronavirus spread prompts organisers to cancel IMEX Frankfurt

The IMEX Group has cancelled meetings industry trade show IMEX Frankfurt 2020 which was due to take place between 12-14 May.

Ray Bloom, chairman of IMEX Group and Carina Bauer, CEO of IMEX Group, released a joint statement revealing the news, in which they said the decision had been made with ‘deep sadness and heavy hearts’.

The announcement comes just days after the IMEX Group issued a statement reassuring delegates and exhibitors that the congress would go ahead as planned.

However Bloom and Bauer cited two ‘overriding concerns’, which prompted the change of mind.

“First is the uncertainty caused by the fact that the German health minister has recently called for the ban on events with over 1,000 people which some German states have already endorsed, including the state of Hesse where Frankfurt is located,” the statement read.

“This announcement makes the probability of factors outside our control forcing us to cancel the show at the last minute much higher.”

Second was the responsibility towards the exhibitors and partners who fund the show, “not only by purchasing stand space but also in the considerable additional investment they make in everything from the build of stunning stands to the hosting of buyer events. Whilst only a short time ago we felt optimistic that May was far enough away to confidently proceed with our plans, as it stands today [11 March] we cannot guarantee the one thing that our exhibitors trust us above all else to deliver – namely a large-scale, high quality hosted buyer programme.”

The IMEX Group said the decision to cancel the show was based on the facts as they stood.

“We have tried today to take the best decision for the industry and we are so thankful for the support that has already been shown to us.

“… we’ve thought long and hard in the past few days, consulting in depth with partners and stakeholders across the industry before making this announcement. Our strapline “We Are All Connected” has never felt more true, nor more important.”

The IMEX group has said it will work to deliver IMEX America in September this year.