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Photo Credit: Prague Convention Bureau

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has published a call for new COVID Trade Fairs/Meetings compensation programme. The Ministry will start accepting applications on 6 April, and they can be submitted until 31 May 2021.

Trade Fairs/Meetings Covid Support Programme was prepared in response to the global coronavirus pandemic by the Ministry of Industry and Trade in cooperation with the Industry Alliance, of which the Prague Convention Bureau is a member. It is intended for business entities operating in the field of organization and execution of trade fairs, exhibitions, meetings, corporate and other group events focusing mainly on the B2B segment. The objective of the support is to maintain infrastructure, entities in business, and related organisational, service, assistance and technical services.

The COVID-19 pandemic substantially affected the meetings season, which according to all indicators, was supposed to be a record high for Prague, and thus create significant economic and social benefits. According to data from the Economic Impact study carried out for the Prague Convention Bureau, the meetings industry was to generate 14,400 full-time jobs in Prague alone in 2020. Consumption in this sector was to reach around CZK 13.5 billion, and subsequent revenues in multiplication to exceed CZK 27.1 billion. This would have resulted in benefits for public budgets of CZK 5.4 billion and CZK 241 million for Prague itself. However, these predictions have not come true. Analysts’ most pessimistic estimates at the beginning of the crisis projected a decline in the number of events, delegates, but also benefits by about 73%. However, the latest data from the Czech Statistical Office for 2020 show that the actual decrease is even greater. The number of conferences and congresses held in mass accommodation facilities in Prague dropped by 80.8% year-on-year, and the number of delegates who participated fell by 75.8%.

Roman Muška

Director of the Prague Convention Bureau

“In view of these drastic losses, we very much welcome this helpful step of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the entire government towards the support of entities running a business in the meetings industry. We hope that this programme, which we succeeded to create and launch in a few months within the framework of industry alliance, bringing together entities focusing on the organization of trade fairs, meetings and events, in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, will help companies to maintain their operation, compensate for the losses incurred and ideally also prepare for the time when the organization of mass events will restart again,” comments Roman Muška, Director of the Prague Convention Bureau on the current situation.

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Photo Credit: Prague Convention Bureau

“The trade fair and meetings industry are one of the most affected sectors, therefore we have prepared special support for it,” says Karel Havlíček, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade, adding: “We will compensate up to 60% of uncovered costs (losses) to entrepreneurs in the trade fair, meetings and event industries and related business entities. We have 600 million crowns available in the programme.”

If the applicant concerned is an entity with state’s, regional or local authority’s equity stake, the applicant is entitled to receive 40% of the uncovered costs (losses). The assistance covers the period from 1 March 2020 to 31 October 2020. The maximum amount of support is CZK 20 million per applicant.

“The COVID – Trade Fairs/Meetings Programme aims to cover uncovered costs (losses), therefore the programme can be combined with previously paid programmes in accordance with point 3.1. of the Temporary Framework of the European Commission as stated in Annex 2 of the Call,” says Martina Tauberová, Deputy Minister for EU and Foreign Trade, adding: “However, the aid paid in these and similar programmes must be included in the revenues when calculating the uncovered costs (losses).”

The applicants submit their applications via the AIS MPO system, where they fill in an electronic form and submit the necessary documents verified by auditor. Details in Czech language, including the text of the call, can be found on www.mpo.cz/covid-veletrhy.