Back in March, the Geneva Motor Show organizers announced that the 2020 edition of the long-running event will be canceled this year due to the pandemic. It would be a sign of things to come as other motor show event organizers would say that they will either be postponing their shows or outright canceling it.
Cases of the pandemic are still rising worldwide, but one country is determined to push through with its major auto show this year. That country is Thailand, and they're serious about opening their doors to the Bangkok International Motor Show (BIMS) to the public this coming Monday. While it's great that they want to bring back some sense of normalcy, all the eyes of the world's motoring industry will be on that event. Here's why.
This will be the first international auto show that will be held amid the pandemic. A brave move indeed.
Of course, Grand Prix International, the organizers of BIMS, won't kick off the show like there's no virus spreading around. They will be taking all the necessary safety precautions to reduce the risk of the disease's transmission. There are temperature checks before entering the event, which will be held at the Impact Challenger Exhibition Hall in Bangkok. Everyone within the venue must also wear a mask. Constant disinfection at the show is a must too, as everyone there must sanitize their hands before entering any vehicle.
There are also social distancing protocols that will be enforced, and the organizers say that it won't be difficult to monitor that because the venue is large. Speaking of keeping distance, the organizers required the exhibitors to maintain a six-meter gap between the booths. So not only is there more space to move around, but it also makes it easier to maintain distance. Exhibitors have even been instructed to wear a face shield on top of a face mask when interacting with visitors. So there's temperature scanners, social distancing rules, PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment) for exhibitors, and the requirement of masks at the show.
However, it does beg the question: Will these measures be enough?
This is why the auto industry will keep a close eye on this major and unprecedented event. It will be interesting to see how the organizers will make this show run as “normal” as possible despite everything that's going on. Aside from the question of the safety precautions taken, there's also the matter of attendance. Will people be willing to head out and go to what is effectively a mass gathering at this time?
If all goes smoothly, it might just give automakers and organizers to build up the courage to do these exhibits once again. If BIMS brings in a lot of attendees and, more importantly, bring in more sales for car manufacturers, that's an even greater incentive for them to hold auto events again. However, until a vaccine is found, holding an event of any size will always be a risk versus reward kind of thing. Will it be worth the risk of customers and personnel to keep the business afloat?
BIMS then will be a make or break event for the future of auto shows that want to move forward in a pandemic-affected world. If they pull this off with a surprising amount of attendees, they might even set the precedent for motor shows to continue worldwide. Not only that, several things might be picked up from this event to make trade shows of any kind not just possible, but also a lot safer.
To say that there's a lot of pressure on the organizers right now is an understatement. We're hoping nothing but the best for the folks of Grand Prix International and BIMS, and we're wishing them success on this event.