In 2019 RAI Amsterdam implemented its refined strategy and carried out various renovation and building activities related to the recently opened nhow Amsterdam RAI hotel and renovated Hall 5. At the same time, the venue welcomed a large number of trade and consumer events. With these encouraging developments both behind the scenes and in the public eye, we were ready for an extremely busy programme in 2020. These promising prospects were seriously disrupted by the measures required to stop the spread of Covid-19.
With a turnover of €135 million and profit of €8.8 million, the RAI achieved excellent results in 2019, as the Annual Report 2019 published today makes clear. We also welcomed over 1.6 million people to the exhibition and conference centre in Amsterdam or one of our events abroad to share knowledge, do business, and be inspired or entertained. The customer satisfaction and visitor numbers indicate how we once again succeeded in fulfilling our mission. The RAI hosted 406 (inter)national events, ten of which outside of the Netherlands, and achieved a customer satisfaction score of 8.4.
We organised and facilitated a wide range of events in the past year; from major trade exhibitions and conferences such as Horecava, Integrated Systems Europe, Interclean, Intertraffic and the International Broadcasting Convention, to consumer events and stage shows like CATS, Kingsland, Amsterdam Dance Event and Het Winterparadijs. The Aquatech brand, a pioneer in the water technology sector, organised successful trade exhibitions in three countries: the Netherlands, China and Mexico. Greentech, the platform for the horticultural sector, announced it would be an annual event again as of 2019.
Increase in medical and en IT conferences
Another interesting development was the increase in the number of medical and IT conferences; sectors of immense value, especially with the outbreak of Covid-19 becoming a global crisis and digital systems being used more than ever. There were various major medical and IT conferences on the agenda for 2020, but they had to be moved or cancelled due to the current circumstances. Interclean, the RAI’s own exhibition for the cleaning industry with a focus on hygiene, was moved to later this year.
Economic boost for the Amsterdam metropolitan region
The events that take place in the exhibition and conference centre also give an economic boost to Amsterdam and its surroundings. Over the past year we processed over 31,500 hotel reservations for some 105,000 overnight stays. In addition to hotels, other hospitality venues and the cultural and retail sectors benefit too. On average, every euro spent in the RAI equals seven euros spent in the city of Amsterdam.
Social efforts continue, even now doors are closed
In addition to economic value, we also create social value for the city and society in a broader sense. With the procurement of local products, set-up of donation programmes and support of charities, the RAI offers added value to a broad range of organisations, clients, suppliers and partners. Even now, while our doors are closed, we are making social contributions wherever possible. This includes employees doing volunteer work and repurposing our residual stocks to organisations like the Rainbow Group, Salvation Army and Food Bank. We use our network to support social initiatives and provide access to various facilities, including our parking garage being made available to educational and day care staff in Amsterdam.
Prospects for 2020, preparing for reopening within 1.5-metre distancing guideline
On 23 March 2020, far-reaching restrictions were implemented in the Netherlands to prevent the further spread of the Covid-19 virus. Since then, the doors of RAI Amsterdam have been closed. In the meantime, we are working towards reopening the RAI in accordance with the 1.5-metre distancing guideline, and hope to organise test events where visitors and exhibitors can safely come together this summer. All the necessary measures have been taken, and a detailed script will allow us as an organisation to safely reopen.