April property shows defiant against Covid-19 cull

A series of European property events scheduled for April are set to go ahead, despite increasing pressure on the industry to abandon large gatherings.

This week's Mipim was postponed for the first time in its 21-year history over the Coronavirus threat, with organiser Reed Exhibitions also pulling the plug on its other March conventions, the London Book Fair and MipTV in Cannes.

However, April property events including Completely Retail Marketplace UK are still slated to happen, with the Completely Events team recently issuing a communiqué insisting that the show would be 'business as usual' despite being just seven weeks away.

Due to take place on 28 April at London's Old Billingsgate Market, the show's organiser said: 'Exhibitions are especially important for the economy and April’s Completely Retail Marketplace UK provides a focal point for everyone in retail property to come together to do business.

'Times are currently challenging enough for our industry, so we plan to fulfil our obligation to our exhibitors and visitors unless, of course, the situation changes dramatically and the government issues guidelines that prevent public gatherings.'

Similarly, Reed Midem is hoping not to have to move its Mapic Italy and Happetite events in Milan scheduled for 28-29 April, with the show's website stating that it is currently going ahead, adding: 'The health and safety of everyone attending the event is our number one priority.

'We are continually monitoring developments related to coronavirus and following the latest guidance from local, national and international authorities and the World Health Organisation as it relates to travel to Happetite and clients’ on-site experience.'

However, Mapic Italy's prospects are heavily reliant on the outcome of Italy's rapidly evolving situation. Currently, no public gatherings of any size are permitted in the country, Europe's hardest hit by the Covid-19 crisis.

In neighbouring France, an original limit on events featuring over 5,000 people has now contracted to block meetings exceeding 1,000 delegates, to try and contain transmission of the virus.

Despite the latest developments, a number of property people have stuck with plans to head to Cannes this week, fulfilling pre-booked travel and using the opportunity to network and meet, in what is being called the 'shadow Mipim'.

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