Coronavirus – Geneva Motor Show cancelled as Switzerland bans large events

The Geneva Motor Show has traditionally been well visited

It’s official – the Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) won’t take place next month. The decision to cancel GIMS follows an announcement made earlier today by the Swiss Federal Council. The Council has decided to prohibit large-scale events involving more than 1,000 people. The ban comes into immediate effect and will apply at least until 15 March 2020, the day GIMS 2020 was scheduled to conclude.

The decision falls three days before the opening of the exhibition to the media. Organiser Palexpo states that it and its partners, including tyre maker Goodyear, accept the Swiss Federal Council’s decision.

A case of force majeure

“We regret this situation, but the health of all participants is our and our exhibitors’ top priority. This is a case of force majeure and a tremendous loss for the manufacturers who have invested massively in their presence in Geneva. However, we are convinced that they will understand this decision,” said Maurice Turrettini, chairman of the show’s Foundation Board. “We would like to warmly thank all those involved in the organisation of the 2020 edition of GIMS.”

Palexpo shares that construction work on exhibitors’ show stands was “nearly complete” at the time the ban on large events took effect. It adds that there was “nothing to suggest that such a measure was necessary” during the press conferences for this year’s event a week ago. “The situation changed with the appearance of the first confirmed coronavirus diseases in Switzerland and the decision of the Federal Council on 28.02.2020. The event is cancelled due to this decision,” writes Palexpo in a statement issued today.

The dismantling of the event will now have to be organised. “The financial consequences for all those involved in the event are significant and will need to be assessed over the coming weeks,” comments Palexpo. The organiser confirms that tickets already purchased for the event will be refunded. It will provide information about this via its website “as soon as possible.”

In a statement, GIMS partner Goodyear said: “We fully understand and support this decision. The safety and wellbeing of our associates, customers, partners and the general public are Goodyear’s most important consideration.”

The tyre maker says it looks forward to “sharing our thinking on our theme for GIMS 2020, shaping the future of electric mobility” in the coming weeks.

Organiser had been “carefully observing” the situation

Prior to the Federal Council’s announcement, organiser Palexpo SA was still working opening the doors to hundreds of thousands of trade visitors and members of the public next week. In a statement dated 28 February, Palexpo said it was “carefully observing” the COVID-19 situation and what it means for exhibitors, visitors, partners and employees “in view of the upcoming events.” It also announced a number of hygiene measures and issued tips to minimise the risk of infection.

On 17 February, Palexpo announced it had rescheduled the 48th International Exhibition of Inventions, which was originally to take place towards the end of March, to 16 September 2020. The risk from coronavirus was deemed particularly strong at this show in light of the strong presence of inventions from China and Hong Kong.

Last year’s GIMS attracted 602,000 visitors.


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