By Emmanuella Anokam
Abuja, Nov. 24, 2020 The 15th Abuja International Trade Fair (AITF), organised by the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) began on Tuesday in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines.
Mr Adetokunbo Kayode, ACCI President, who spoke on the 2020 fair in Abuja said that holding the event was a strong decision it took due to COVID-19 effect.
The fair which will hold between Nov. 24 and Dec. 4, is targeting 500 local and foreign exhibitors.
Naija247news reports that some local and few foreign exhibitors from India, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Ghana had arrived the venue, putting things in order and setting up tents but yet to start business transactions.
According to Kayode, the annual trade fair normally starts from July to August, which is the peak but it is difficult now because of the pandemic effect.
“Right now, movement is still difficult and participants are supposed to be quarantined and adhere to certain measures.
“Doing the fair this year is a strong decision we just took by audacity, other than that it is not a good time at all to do it.
“This has affected the whole service industry.
“Trade fair is not just an exhibition, it is also a tourism event.
“People come into Abuja, lodge in hotels, transact business and spend money.
“When people come to your territory and spend money that is what is called tourism, it can be trade tourism or Meetings Incentive Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE),” he said.
MICE represents a sector of tourism which includes business events whereby large groups, usually planned well in advance, are brought together.
Kayode said it was regrettable that the whole of the service sectors were heavily damaged by COVID-19 impact, while many lines of opportunities were equally closed.
He said that although the pandemic created a lot of problems and almost destroyed the service sector with the exception of telecommunication sector.
He noted that technology also came up with its negative and positive impact, adding that today, everyone could use zoom and other platforms to organise meetings and interract.
“We planned to do 10 trade fairs this year starting from March instead of one, with their programmes mapped out but we cannot do anything because people cannot move.
“Anytime you move, you create value through economic activities. Infrastructure is very critical,” he said.
Naija247news reports that the fair which will only showcase indoor and virtual exhibitions at Abuja Trade and Convention Centre will be opened officially on Thursday.
The trade fair which has its theme as “Trade and Commerce Beyond Borders” was earlier postponed in October as a result of the mayhem that accompanied the #EndSARS protests.