The show's sponsors cite in particular the uncertainties concerning the roll-out of vaccination around the world. This does not stop the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
The IFA Berlin, the world's largest trade fair for consumer and home electronics, has decided not to open its doors in 2021, for the second year in a row. An email from Messe Berlin and gfu Consumer & Home Electronics, the organizations that sponsor the IFA, announces that "IFA 2021 will not take place in September".
Why? The reasons are quite simple. “In the end, several key parameters of global health have not moved as quickly in the right direction as had been hoped - from the rapid emergence of new variants of Covid-19, for example in Asia South, to persistent uncertainties about the speed of deployment of immunization programs around the world. "
Another factor is that the Messe Berlin exhibition halls continue to be used "to support the fight against Covid-19 by converting parts of its space into a vaccination center and emergency hospital facility".
“We did not take this decision lightly. IFA Berlin is arguably the most important event of the year for brands and retailers. IFA Berlin connects our industry with trade visitors, media and real consumers like no other event. However, the health and safety of all must be absolutely paramount. Efforts to contain this pandemic - from rolling out immunization programs to resuming international travel - have not proceeded at the pace we had hoped for. In view of this development, this difficult and disappointing decision was inevitable”, explains Martin Ecknig, CEO of Messe Berlin.
Scheduled for next June, the MWC is maintained
This may be the case with IFA, but another major global tech fair taking place in Europe, MWC, which has been postponed from March to June this year , is still planning to be held. Even though big telecom companies like Qualcomm Ericsson, Google, IBM, Lenovo, Nokia, Oracle, Samsung and Sony have pulled out, the organizer of MWC GSMA is insisting that the show take place.
The health and safety of employees remains a priority for large tech companies that have chosen to withdraw from the event. The Qualcomm Company, for example, justified its cancellation in a press release: “although we appreciate the health and safety measures put in place by the GSMA for the MWC in Barcelona, we have decided that it is in the best interest of our employees and customers that Qualcomm's participation is virtual this year”.
This can be explained in part by the fact that the Spanish government is desperate for tourists to return to the country. Spain plans to welcome around 45 million foreign tourists in 2021 , just over half of the number of tourists who came in 2019, before the pandemic. Spain and the GSMA have implemented a special and permissive travel authorization for people registered with the MWC.
The expected 500,000 participants will have to present a negative test before entering Spain, and renew it every two days for the duration of the show. In any case, the European Union should allow entry into the EU without quarantine of vaccinated visitors