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Koelnmesse cancels own events until end of February

photokina and CCXP COLOGNE suspended

Following the cancellation of the furnishing trade fairs imm cologne and LivingKitchen in January, Koelnmesse will also not be hosting the events scheduled to take place in Cologne up to the end of February, ISM, ProSweets Cologne, spoga horse and the INTERNATIONAL HARDWARE FAIR, due to the coronavirus restrictions. A decision has also been made to suspend CCXP COLOGNE for 2021 and photokina until further notice.


The decision to cancel the February trade fairs is the result of close consultation with the relevant industry representatives and associations. In the case of photokina, the decisive factor was the continued significant decline in the markets for imaging products, for CCXP COLOGNE it will not be possible to host a big party for the community with a high proportion of participants coming from overseas, in 2021.

February trade fairs: Exhibitors and visitors do not wish to participate
"The development of the pandemic and the ongoing tough coronavirus policies force us to take these drastic measures. They are absolutely essential if we want to ensure the long-term existence and success of Cologne as a trade fair location," says Koelnmesse CEO Gerald Böse. After careful consideration, exhibitors and visitors at the February trade fairs have clearly expressed that they do not wish to participate. Most of them do not believe that this will change significantly in the first few weeks of the coming year due to the current uncertainties. This applies to both political and official requirements and to the expected participation of exhibitors and visitors. Böse says: "We are accommodating these concerns, because only if we work together with our sector partners, we will be able to make a successful restart in due course".

According to Oliver Frese, Chief Operating Officer of Koelnmesse, "the decisions were made with a reasonable amount of advance notice, which allows exhibitors to minimise their immediate trade fair preparation efforts as much as possible. As soon as the general conditions allow us to restart physical trade fairs, we will be ready in Cologne to hold our trade fairs with maximum safety and hygiene precautions. We are keeping our foot on the gas pedal and will continue to fight for each and every trade fair".

Successful digital formats, extensive hygiene concepts
In Cologne, this extends the time-out for physical trade fairs to almost one year since March 2020. The summer saw two very successful digital formats, gamescom and DMEXCO@home, with a high international reach and new business models which Koelnmesse is looking to transfer to the hybrid trade fair business in post-corona virus times. With the hygiene and safety measures of its #B-SAFE4business programme, the company has taken extensive precautions for re-entering the physical trade fair business, and, with its #B-SAFE4business Village, has provided its customers with a convincing model of trade fair construction in compliance with corona virus regulations.

photokina: hard cut to 70-year history
Beyond this, Koelnmesse continually evaluates the sustainability of its events in general: "Unfortunately, the general conditions in the imaging industry do not currently offer a viable basis for the leading international trade fair for photo, video and imaging," says Gerald Böse. "Suspending photokina after a 70-year history together was very difficult for us. But we are facing the situation with a clear, honest decision not to continue the event, for which we unfortunately have no alternative".

"Even before the corona virus pandemic, the imaging market was already in a state of flux with double-digit annual declines. This pace increased rapidly in 2020, with a drop of some 50 percent. Even major adjustments to the concept, sizeable investments in new exhibitor and visitor segments and a change of frequency and date were ultimately unable to fundamentally improve the event's situation," explains Oliver Frese. He explains that the overall situation "is not compatible with photokina's quality standards as a globally renowned brand that stands for the highest quality and professionalism in the international imaging market".

About Koelnmesse:
Koelnmesse employs over 1,000 people and in 2019 had a global turnover of more than 400 million euro. As a city trade fair in the heart of Europe, it occupies the third largest trade fair grounds in Germany and, with almost 400,000 m² of hall and outdoor space, is among the top ten largest trade fair grounds in the world. Each year, Koelnmesse organises and manages around 80 trade fairs, guest events and special events in Cologne and in the most important markets all over the world. Its portfolio reaches over 54,000 exhibiting companies from 122 countries and around three million visitors from more than 200 nations. In the years ahead, Koelnmesse is investing more than 700 million euro in the development of the trade fair grounds and its digital infrastructure in the most extensive investment programme in its history, to allow it to cover all event formats in the future.