Thanks to strong visitor demand, robust Covid-19 protocols and the UK government easing restrictions, the event will take place over 12-14 April at ExCeL London.
However, a small number of exhibitors such as Merkur, Novomatic and Scientific Games have announced they would not take part in this year’s rescheduled event.
Hunter said this had “changed the dynamic of what visitors will experience at ICE London 2022”.
But with more than 450 brands still attending the show and significant support from the buyer communities, he said Clarion Gaming remained focused on reuniting the industry. The event’s size still makes it the largest global gaming exhibition in the market, Hunter added.
“As a team we never like to lose any of our exhibitors but we will always respect their reasons for deciding not to participate,” he said. “Ours are lifetime customers and we are working with them to assist some in retaining a presence at ICE through sponsorship and by hosting clients at the event, while also confirming their return in 2023.
“We always strive to stand shoulder to shoulder with the industry and our customers, both in good times and during more challenging periods.”
He noted that the ICE brand has always worked to represent the entire gaming ecosystem, including smaller businesses that rely on the show for a significant portion of their annual turnover.
The support for the new April dates remained strong, with independent research of 1,300 attendees conducted by Explori showing just under three quarters (74%) of those polled still plan to be at the show over 12-14 April. The new dates have also secured support from the European Casino Association, ensuring a large contingent of European land-based operators will be attending.
This research was undertaken prior to the UK government announcing that vaccinated international travellers will not be required to take a Covid test upon arrival in England from 11 February.
“This is a major development that will encourage more visitors to make the journey to London and be part of the ICE experience,” Hunter said. “In addition, the UK government has moved to its Plan A Covid response which involves a significant easing of restrictions, including the end of mandatory face masks and a relaxation of the rules applying to Covid certification passports. In these respects, the UK and ICE London are very much open for business.”
This would be supported by Clarion’s commitment to the event sector’s All Secure Risk Assessment Framework, a best practice guide for delivering events when Covid transmission remains a risk.
Protocols had been fully tested through Clarion Events, and are flexible enough to respond and adapt to a dynamic and rapidly changing scenario, Hunter explained, to ensure the ICE experience can be both safe and business friendly.
“We knew that the return to in-person events would not be straightforward but we also know from our experience staging iGB Live! in Amsterdam last autumn quite how much the industry has missed in-person events and the ability to meet, network and to do business,” Hunter said in conclusion.
“The team is fully focused on the task ahead and will do whatever it takes to deliver an unforgettable celebration of the industry when it meets in London.”
Further announcements are due in the coming weeks on the initiatives and features that will add to the event, such as Pitch ICE, the Consumer Protection Zone and the Hosted Buyers programme, as well as the ICE VOX conference.