How Omicron Is Affecting The Events Industry In 2022

With the emergence of the highly mutated Omicron variant, the events industry landscape once again swings in the balance. Just like the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the rising omicron variant has forced a wave of new cancellations and postponements of events in 2022.

The WTO (World Trade Organization) conference, scheduled from November 30 to December 3 in Geneva, was the first major event that was postponed after the emergence of the highly contagious covid-19 variant. Since then a large number of organizations have either postponed their events or switched to virtual format amid renewed health concerns. 

Here is a list of some of the events that have been cancelled or postponed as a result of the surge:

  • Grammys: After careful consideration and analysis, the US Recording Academy postponed its Jan 31 show at the Arena. The organizers are yet to announce new dates for the awards event.
  • Toy Fair New York 2022: The Toy Fair event, scheduled from Feb 19-22 at the Javits Center in New York, was cancelled for the second year in a row due to concerns over COVID-19.
  • IMEX Frankfurt: The IMEX Group has postponed its 2022 IMEX Frankfurt event amid rising Omicron cases and uncertainty over health and safety regulations. The meetings industry trade show, which was set to take place April 26-28, will now be held May 31-June 2. 
  • E3: One of the largest video game trade shows, E3, will once again be an online-only event this summer. The ESA had originally planned to bring back E3 as an in-person conference in 2022 but with the onset of the Omicron variant, the makers have decided to host the event virtually. 
  • Sundance Film Festival: The organizers of the film festival announced the event will be held in a virtual format on Jan. 20.
  • J.P. Morgan’s Annual Healthcare Conference:  The largest and most informative health care investment symposium was scheduled from Jan 10-13 in San Francisco, CA, USA.  Because of the rising Omicron cases, the organizers announced that the conference will take place virtually on Jan 10-13, 2022. 
How Omicron Is Affecting The Events Industry In 2022

At the beginning of November, last year the events industry appeared confident that 2022 would be the year in which they return to physical events and conferences. Just a few months ago, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research’s Chief Economist Dr Allen Shaw predicted that the industry would get back to between 75% and 80% of 2019 levels in 2022 – and be back to 100% by this time next year. 

Then scientists in South Africa reported a new variant of Covid-19 and once again the events industry has landed in a panic mode. The first confirmed cases were reported from South Africa and Botswana. Since then it has been detected in several countries across the world including Hong Kong, Belgium, the UK, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy, etc. Many countries have imposed travel restrictions on flights from the Southern region of Africa. Countries like Morocco, Japan, and Israel have imposed outright bans on all foreign travelers. 

If the world has learned anything in the past two years it is that the path out of the pandemic will be a bumpy one. Yet one message that seems to come through loud and clear is that virtual events are here to stay. When the pandemic robbed us of our “normal” lives, virtual events granted us the gift of inclusivity by breaking the geographical barriers and connecting global audiences. Concepts that were cooked up at speed due to the pandemic are now becoming an essential plank of ongoing marketing strategies. Event organizers now have more digital tools and strategies at their disposal, which is enabling them to continue to engage attendees and sponsors virtually. 

If you are looking for a way to add a virtual component to your next event then FLOOR has all the features you need to build a distinctive and memorable virtual event to achieve your strategic objectives. Set up a demo today to learn more about what FLOOR has to offer and prepare yourself for the new age of events.

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