Statement by Werner M. Dornscheidt, CEO of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH
Werner M. Dornscheidt (Credit: Messe Düsseldorf/Andreas Wiese)
Messe Düsseldorf, one of the world's largest meeting places and export platforms for various industries, is currently largely at a standstill. 15,450 exhibitors wanted to present their innovations to 681,000 visitors at our leading international trade fairs in Düsseldorf alone from March to June, and to network, form and expand partnerships with them. None of this can happen at present due to the Corona Pandemic.
At the Düsseldorf location, we had to postpone nine world-leading trade fairs, in addition to numerous events worldwide that act as platforms for local industries. The decisive factors here were not only legal requirements, but above all the health of our customers, partners, employees and neighbors. As a locally and globally active company, we take our social responsibility seriously and are doing everything within our power to stem the spread of the coronavirus. At the same time, our goal is to keep the economic losses of our customers and partners as low as possible. We are pleased that new dates were found together so quickly in order to allow all parties to reliably plan. Naturally, we are also in close contact with all industries affected by the shifts in order to find feasible solutions.
After all, the postponements have an impact on our own industry as well as on all sectors of the economy connected with the events. These include, among others, various craft businesses, trade fair construction, gastronomy, the hotel industry, retail trade and local public transport.
A study by the ifo Institute shows the significance of a shift in the trade fairs and what it means for the location: The Düsseldorf trade fair and congress industry generates around 2.98 billion euros in sales throughout Germany every year (in Düsseldorf 1.66 billion euros), secures 27,692 jobs (in Düsseldorf 16,664) and leads to additional tax revenues of 567 million euros. Furthermore, with 1.5 million overnight stays, it accounts for almost one third of Düsseldorf's hotel occupancy. This also clearly demonstrates the future relevance of trade fair companies as an instrument of economic development.
In the context of these complex economic interdependencies, however, we must not lose sight of the significance of the corona crisis for our company itself: Messe Düsseldorf, like many other companies, will also make an extremely sharp downward adjustment to its forecast for the 2020 financial year, which was planned as one of the most successful in terms of cyclical performance. At present, we are not yet able to make any concrete statements about possible financial effects: We are still at the beginning of our fiscal year, are currently sounding out the situation, thinking through various scenarios and focusing primarily on protecting the health of our workforce and ensuring a presence for our clients during the postponements - here and abroad.
With a revenue of around EUR 369 million in 2019, the Messe Düsseldorf Group has maintained its position as one of Germany's most successful trade fair companies. 29,195 exhibitors presented their products to 1.4 million trade visitors at events in Düsseldorf in 2019. Compared with previous events, this was an increase in the numbers of both exhibitors and visitors. The Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre hosts around 50 trade fairs in five sectors of expertise: machinery, plants and equipment; the retail trade, trades and services; medicine and healthcare; lifestyle and beauty, and leisure. The trade fairs include 22 proprietary number-one events as well as, currently, 15 robust partner and guest events. Also, its subsidiary Düsseldorf Congress held over 1,000 conventions, corporate events, conferences and meetings in 2019, attracting around 365,000 delegates in all. In addition, the Messe Düsseldorf Group organises 75 proprietary events, joint events and contracted events in other countries and is one of the leading export platforms in the world. Proprietary events in Düsseldorf attracted around 73% international exhibitors and 37% international visitors in 2019. The group runs a global network of 77 international offices, including 7 international subsidiaries.