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RAI Amsterdam: Exhibitions and conferences return to 2019 levels

(David Stegenga Fotografie)

Annual report 2022 highlights RAI Amsterdam’s resilience.

From zero to one hundred and beyond in just one year… That’s perhaps the best way to summarise 2022 for RAI Amsterdam. While the doors of the exhibition and conference centre remained firmly shut to the public in January and February, the first multi-day events started returning to the RAI in late March as the COVID restrictions were lifted. From that point on the halls of the venue were rarely empty, leading to excellent results for 2022 and a very positive outlook for the years ahead.

The fact that RAI Amsterdam achieved strong results over the past year was confirmed in the 2022 Annual Report. They included a turnover of more than 118 million euros nd a profit of 8.8 million euros. Nearly 1.2 million people visited the exhibition and conference venue in Amsterdam or attended one of the RAI-organised events abroad to share knowledge, do business or be inspired or entertained. Impressive customer satisfaction figures and visitor numbers show how well the RAI succeeded in helping people achieve these goals. The venue hosted 300 (inter)national events (three of which outside the Netherlands) and these chalked up an average satisfaction score of 7.9.

RAI Amsterdam-01

From major trade exhibitions and conferences such as the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC), Intertraffic and PLMA, to consumer favourites like the Kingsland Festival and Amsterdam Winter Paradise, 2022 saw the RAI welcome a wide range of events. In addition, the RAI’s doors remained open for COVID testing and vaccinations throughout the year. Until March these activities were accommodated in the Holland Complex, where the Amsterdam municipal health service GGD hosted the largest vaccination location in the Netherlands, before moving to a separate pavilion in front of the venue.

Economic and social impulse

The valuable meetings that take place during international exhibitions and conferences boost knowledge sharing, business and networking. In fact, these events serve as a flywheel for development and innovation on all fronts, and have a significant economic and social impact too – something that was only possible to a limited extent with the virtual events in 2020 and 2021.

Events that take place in the exhibition and conference venue at the RAI give a major economic impulse to the city of Amsterdam and the region. The RAI processed some 27,000 hotel bookings in 2022, representing some 90,000 overnight stays. In addition to hotels, other hospitality and entertainment venues, the cultural sector and retail outlets also benefit from these visitors.

Further increase in medical and IT conferences

One of the developments that was disrupted by COVID, recovered well in 2022 and is due to continue in the future, is the way medical and IT/Tech events increasingly fill the halls of the RAI. The related sectors are becoming ever-more prominent in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region. The city is globally known for its health sector, with influential medical companies and knowledge institutions, and its IT and Tech industry is a world leader. The Dutch capital obtained the number 2 position on the worldwide Digital Cities Index 2022.

Prospects for 2023 and beyond

Trends also continued in other fields. Exhibitor and visitor numbers at the end of 2022 were largely back to pre-Covid levels. Moreover, the RAI extended its contracts with various major international organisers who intend to host their events in the heart of Amsterdam until at least 2026. These developments strengthen the confidence and belief in the course and continuity of the company, and allow the RAI to take the next steps in realising the ambitions of its clients, visitors and employees, as well as the city’s residents.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.