Impact Exhibition Management predicts it will be another two years before its revenue can exceed its 2019 performance by 10%, despite some signs of recovery in the exhibition business this year.
Paul Kanjanapas, managing director of Impact Exhibition Management, said 90% of its exhibitions have resumed. Impact Muang Thong Thani temporarily closed on March 4, resulting in a dip in revenue of about 30% during its three-month shutdown (March-June).
The company resumed its schedule in June with Mid Year Sale 2020, which was followed by the Bangkok International Motor Show in July.
Impact's workforce was reduced because of the pandemic, decreasing from 1,500 to 1,300 employees. He said most of the layoffs were in the company's hotel business, as its two properties in the area -- Novotel Bangkok Impact and Ibis Bangkok Impact -- could not host participating exhibitors from overseas.
The number of exhibitions this year is 608 events, down from 1,025 events in 2019. Of these events, 97% were organised by the local market.
Mr Paul said the scale of events were reduced, particularly consumer fairs for small and medium-sized enterprises. Impact offered these events assistance by maintaining the same rental fees.
All international incentives were cancelled because of travel restrictions, he said. However, there have been no cancellations or postponements due to new local coronavirus cases, said Mr Paul.
Even though virtual and hybrid meetings have become more popular during the pandemic, he insists virtual events will not replace in-person events because physical experiences and human interactions cannot be easily replicated in a virtual environment.
Impact has already scheduled 340 events next year, including three major badminton tournaments in January. VIV Asia 2021, an animal production exhibition, is scheduled for September.
Mr Paul said the number of events in 2021 will likely exceed 1,000, but international incentives groups could take longer to recover as the roll-out of coronavirus vaccines is key.
He said the worst-case scenario for next year is if Thailand has to wait until August or September to let international meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions travellers visit the country without a quarantine, using vaccine certifications instead.
To prepare for traffic from the new skytrain Pink Line, Bangkok Land, Impact's parent firm, plans to invest in new infrastructure the next three years. A joint investment with the government of 1.25 billion baht is for two stations and a rail system. A skybridge that links the station and Challenger Hall 1 is planned, with a budget of 200 million baht from Impact Growth REIT. However, that decision is pending shareholder approval.