Convention centers on the lookout for customers

29-Oct-2020 Intellasia | The Saigon Times | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Convention centers in HCM City are facing difficulties finding customers to organise large events as all international exhibitions and conferences have been canceled due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Thuong My An, general director of the Saigon Exhibition and Convention centre (SECC), said that the popular centre, located in the heart of District 7, had not seen any events after Vietbuild, an interior decoration exhibition, took place at the end of September.

In the past, SECC would host three Vietbuild events every year with thousands of booths in both the indoor and outdoor areas. However, this year’s edition saw the number of booths slashed by half and without the participation of foreign companies.

The next Vietbuild event is expected to take place in December. However, the organisers are still not sure about the date as they are observing the complicated developments of the pandemic and its effects on the market.

Besides Vietbuild, SECC has only got a proposal for another event at the end of this year. “We don’t know when customers will come back. At the start of the first outbreak, all the events in the first half were deferred to the end of the year and, then again, after the second outbreak at the end of July,” she said.

Before the pandemic, businesses found it difficult to organise events in large economic hubs such as HCM City as the convention centers there were always fully booked.

In 2019, SECC saw firms fully booking the centre for events scheduled for between 2020 and 2022.

Not just SECC, other centers such as Phu Tho and Nguyen Du have also seen low activity this year, although they used to be popular venues for exhibitions and fairs in the past.

Meanwhile, some high-end hotels in the city have received guests for some conferences, seminars and small-scale exhibitions. However, the situation remains gloomy.

“We saw some conferences and events at the beginning of October. This month, the number of events has been 70 percent of that seen in the same period last year but they have been on a much smaller scale,” said a source from a five-star hotel in HCM City.

Vu Thi Thanh Hien, deputy director of Grand Saigon Hotel, said some seminars have been held at the hotel recently, but with fewer participants and on a smaller scale. The segment has yet to see a sharp recovery.

According to enterprises, the exhibition, conference and fair service will face numerous difficulties after the pandemic as it takes a lot of time for businesses to prepare for an event.

The situation of large centers will not improve until international trading activities return to normal.

In Vietnam, the Covid-19 outbreak has been brought under control but enterprises have yet to organise events due to concerns over unexpected risks. The segment will be mired in difficulties for a long time, said An of SECC.

Further, many customers have reduced spending to cope with financial challenges, so they will organise only small events with fewer dishes or decorations.


Category: Business, Vietnam

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