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2021 Geneva International Motor Show cancelled, event to be sold

Picture of Chris Teague

Chris Teague

Exhibitors have to dismantle their displays after cancellation of the Geneva International Motor Show on February 28, 2020 in Geneva, Switzerland. Swiss authorities announced today that all upcoming events with more than 1,000 attendees will be cancelled in an attempt to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

After polling their members, the organizing body of the Geneva International Motor Show has decided to not move forward with the 2021 event.

This is a direct result of the financial constraints put upon the group following the cancellation of the 2020 show after Switzerland’s government announced a ban on gatherings of 1,000 people or more as the coronavirus ramped up a week before the show was to begin. The cancellation of the 2020 event is estimated to have cost 11 million Swiss francs.

As a result of the closure of the Geneva International Motor Show, the organization that runs the show suffered an enormous financial loss.

Photo by Robert Hradil/Getty Images

Though the Foundation that puts one the show was approved for a loan of 16.8 million Swiss francs to help offset the impact, the organization did not feel that it would be responsible to use the loan due to the uncertainty that the loan would guarantee long-term stability for the event.

Conditions of the loan included repayment of 1 million Swiss francs before the event could possibly have made any money as well as the requirement that a show be put on in 2021.

When the Committee and Foundation Board polled exhibitors, they asked them about participating in a 2021 event. Most said that they would probably not participate in a 2021 edition, but were likely to do so in 2022.

In addition to the economic toll of the event, the orgainzing committee was wary of planning for an event that normally attracts 600,000 visitors and 10,000 journalists with the status of the ongoing world health crisis still uncertain, including related travel bans.

The future of the show remains relatively uncertain though the Federal Council approved a plan to sell the rights to put on the show and all assets to Palexpo SA. Palexpo is the convention center where the event is typically held.

GIMS is the largest public event in Switzerland. Its economic impact on the canton of Geneva is estimated at some CHF 200 million per year.

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