By Juan Zumalde
Feria Valencia held a total of 14 trade fairs and 41 external events in 2021 across its facilities. These activities were made possible in the second year of the pandemic thanks to the safety protocols put in place by Feria Valencia in order to combat COVID-19.
Once again last year, the pandemic represented the main obstacle to the normal functioning of trade fairs and events. In fact, many of the major international events on the European calendar were cancelled last year. Especially at the start of the year.
In order to avoid cancellations, Feria Valencia reactivated its on-line platform. This allowed it to hold Cevisama On, so exhibitors and visitors to the event could maintain their contacts at a time when the health situation made it impossible to hold in-person events. The same happened with Forinvest Digital, which replaced the on-site event in May.
However, by June, the health situation had improved sufficiently to make it possible to hold the spring motor show in person at the exhibition site. After summer, things had nearly returned to normal, with 11 events being held at the exhibition site by the end of the year. All this activity brought in 151,898 visitors, of whom 42,063 had access to exhibitors and information through digital channels.
As for events, and following a year (2020) in which activities had been cancelled on a global scale, in 2021, Feria Valencia managed to bring in 92,214 visitors who attended 41 events held at the exhibition site.
The second year of the pandemic could have challenged the validity of the trade fair business as we have known it up to now. But the truth is that we can confirm that clients of the trade fair business, exhibitors, visitors and event organisers have shown a great deal of interest in returning to on-site, in-person activities, as far as the circumstances allow.
Obviously, digitalisation is here to stay and it will fill the gap present in the business. However, in-person attendance continues to be extremely important for trade fair clients. Without this, of course, meaning that it is not essential to reflect on what needs to happen during in-person attendance in order to meet new client needs.
Feria Valencia maintained its commitment to sustainability during the 2021-financial year, in line with the sustainable development goals set for the year 2030.
Furthermore, last year, Feria Valencia continued to house the Generalitat Valenciana’s logistics warehouse for the supply of materials to fight COVID-19, and until September, when Las Fallas could finally be held in Valencia, it served as a warehouse for the Las Fallas sculptures that had to be taken off the streets in 2020 when the festivities were cancelled due to the outbreak of the pandemic.
In terms of economic results, Feria Valencia managed to balance its operating results despite not being able to hold many of its major fairs and also in spite of the global paralysis of the events business. This was achieved thanks to a severe policy of spending restraint and, as has been the norm in the domestic trade fair sector since the beginning of the pandemic, thanks to aid from the regional government, aid that was approved by the European Union.
Income, thus, amounted to 14.2 million euros, a figure that includes a subsidy of 7.6 million euros from the Regional Ministry for Sustainable Economy, Productive Sectors, Trade and Work, to compensate for the losses suffered in 2020 and those that would have occurred in 2021. Operating expenses amounted to 9.9 million euros, EBITDA to 4.2 million euros and the result for the year was 2.8 million euros.