The great fatigue of the events sector in the face of “stop and go”

No need to present your wishes to a representative of the event industry: they will be greeted with a weary smile. After a dynamic recovery in the last quarter of 2021, companies and employees who work in the organization of fairs, shows, conventions or shows have plunged back into the crisis.

No less than 130 events, starting with emblematic meetings, such as the Comic Strip Festival in Angoulême, or the Maison & Objet fair, at the Parc des Expositions de Paris Nord-Villepinte, have been canceled or postponed in the wake of statements by Jean Castex, Monday, December 27, announcing that these events would be subject to attendance gauges until January 24. He canceled the same evening “All the greeting ceremonies planned for January”, a blow for caterers and bakers.

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The government may have corrected things Thursday, December 30 by explaining that fairs and exhibitions were ultimately not affected by these measures, the damage was done: around 1 billion euros in turnover, not counting the economic fallout for the territories, had gone up in smoke, according to estimates by the French Union of Event Trades (Unimev).

“A devastating effect”

“The announcements had a devastating effect on an already weakened sector”, summarizes Béatrice Cuif-Mathieu, general manager of Destination Nancy, a public company responsible for the promotion and organization of events in the city of Lorraine and vice-president of Unimev. President of the Lévénement association and general manager of the Auditoire agency, Cyril de Froissard notes a “Scissors effect” : “We had counted on a recovery in September which turned out to be real: we had started to rehire… There we will have companies that have more employees but less work. “

On Monday, the Minister of the Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, reinforced certain aid to support companies in the sectors concerned, in particular by lowering the cost support to a threshold of 50% loss of turnover. fixed, and by expanding access to partial unemployment. But for event specialists, the account is not there. “I had 1.8 million euros of forecast turnover, I will do 200,000 euros at best”, calculates Fabrice Laborde, co-manager of the ByGalis agency.

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In this sector, which was among the first to be arrested by the crisis, there will soon be two years, the morale of the troops is almost as affected as the operating accounts. “Beyond the financial side, it is the permanent ‘stop and go’ that is exhausting”, continues Stanislas Surun, vice-president of the National Union of scenic and event audiovisual providers (Synpase) and associate general manager of Magnum Novelty, which has two hundred permanent employees but employs around two thousand intermittent workers.

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