Over EUR 120 billion socio-economic effects created by EMECA Members' exhibition activity

Posted on Monday 25th June 2018

The 22 large and leading trade fair venues in Europe united in the Major European Exhibition Centres Association (EMECA) generate a significant socio-economic impact for the immediate surroundings of a venue, for the wider region and on national or transnational level. A new impact study conducted by KPMG on behalf of EMECA reveals the economic power of the exhibition industry in Europe and of EMECA Members’ venues in particular.

EMECA impact of EUR 120,638 million out of EUR 303,052 million for Europe

Based on data for 2016, the socio-economic effect generated by the 22 EMECA Members amounts to EUR 120,638 million, the equivalent of 50% of the GDP of a country like Finland. The total impact of the exhibition industry for geographical Europe is EUR 303,052 million which equals roughly the GDP of Denmark.

“The effect created by EMECA Members’ alone represents 40% of the total socio-economic impact calculated for the exhibition industry in Europe. This is a fantastic result and confirms the leadership of the exhibition venues affiliated with EMECA”, says Claude Membrez, EMECA President and CEO of Palexpo Geneva.

The exhibition industry in Europe: capacity, quality and multiplier effect

Europe is the most significant region for the exhibition industry worldwide in terms of exhibition quality and capacity. 38 out of 62 venues that are larger than 100.000 sqm are located in Europe. EMECA Members operate 8% (39 sites) of the European exhibition premises and offer 30% (4.7 mio sqm) of the total exhibition space available in Europe. Regarding the quality of venues and exhibitions, exhibitors and visitors grant European venues the highest quality rankings, proving that these venues successfully render outstanding business and leisure environments.

The 22 EMECA Members’ have an impressive productivity: it would rank second with a multiplier effect of 2,22 after the Chemical Industry in Europe (2,7), the sector with the biggest output multiplier according to Eurostat, and before the Construction Industry (2,16).

Methodology and division of results

The socio-economic effects are calculated in three different layers: 1. Direct effects include tax contribution, direct purchases and employment by EMECA Members’ venues as well as exhibitors’ and visitors direct spending; 2. Indirect impact created by employees consumption and economic activity generated by the first and second tier of the supply chain; and 3. Induced Impact referring to the economic impact and employment effects on other sectors due to growing demand in the rest of the supply chain.

Of the total effect of EUR 120,638 million, EUR 101,445 million are due to the pull effect, deriving from purchase from suppliers, investments, salaries, and expenses of the exhibitors and visitors associated with the exhibitions. According to the calculation methodology used, the effect on employment would amount to 495,287 jobs. The total contribution to the public budget is estimated at EUR 19,193 million. Over 97% of this amount stem from the value added tax linked to the impacts.

Exhibitors and visitors

Exhibitors and visitors to exhibitions held on EMECA Members’ premises generate a total of EUR 59,295 million and 330,368 jobs, which represents nearly half of the total impact. The main expenses of exhibitors are related to the activity at the exhibition venue itself. Exhibition fees and in-event expenditure alone represent roughly 40% of the total exhibitors’ expense. As for visitors, their expenditure is highest on accommodation followed by transport and restaurants. On average, 90% of the visitors’ expenditure is generated by international visitors. This means that a national visitor generates economic effects of EUR 96 while each international visitor contributes EUR 4,441 to the economy.

Impact on sectors of the economy

Four sectors benefit most from the exhibition activity, absorbing 87% of the impact in terms of wealth creation and 80% in terms of employment generation: 1. Support services activities, including hotels, restaurants, wholesale and retail, repairs, IT and more; 2. Energy; 3. Manufacturing and 4. Transportation of goods and people, storage, postal services. It means for example that 233,419 jobs are created and sustained in the support services industry and 107,117 employments in the transportation sector.

Investments and purchases by the exhibition venues themselves benefit mostly the construction sector, as these investments pertain particularly to upgrading the venues and expanding their capacity. The support services sector generates the greatest pull effect through purchases from suppliers, since this category includes key activities of the exhibition venues such as maintenance of facilities, trade or hospitality.




The 22 EMECA venues host and organise 1.900 trade fairs a year globally, out of which more than 1.500 in Europe on a gross rented space of nearly 38 mio sqm. They welcome roughly 360.000 exhibitors and over 41,6 mio visitors in Europe.