A research project from Explori, which canvassed the opinions of 1,211 ICE registrants, has revealed that just under three out of four (74%) plan to attend the show, which returns to ExCeL London on 12-14 April.
Of this number, 77% were either final decision makers or had a say in purchasing decisions for their business. The vast majority (81%) viewed the show as important to attend, with 67% saying they did so to acquire new suppliers or partners.
A further 56% said they travelled to the show to gain an overview of the gaming market, with 53% saying they would be at the ExCeL to be inspired by new ideas.
This, Clarion Gaming managing director Stuart Hunter said, demonstrated the appetite for the show’s return after an absence of more than two years.
However, he stressed that the move to April was “very much a one-off and a last resort” due to the lack of any alternative dates for an exhibition the size and scale of ICE.
Furthermore, the new dates in April had substantially eased concerns related to the Covid-19 pandemic, which prompted the shift from early February.
“We also have the recent announcement by the UK government confirming that from 11 February, vaccinated international travellers will not have to test for Covid on arrival in England,” Hunter said. “This is a major development that will encourage more visitors to make the journey to London and be part of the ICE experience.
“In addition, the UK government has moved to its Plan A Covid response which involves a significant easing of Covid restrictions, including the end of mandatory face masks and a relaxation of the rules applying to Covid Certification Passports.
“I support the view of lead bodies such as UKHospitality and UKinbound that the lifting of restrictions represents a pragmatic step towards normality. It also shows that the UK and ICE London are very much open for business.”
Some high-profile exhibitors have announced their withdrawal from this year’s event, something Hunter said had changed the dynamic of ICE 2022. However, he reiterated that ICE remains the largest gaming event in the calendar, with around 450 businesses still exhibiting this year, alongside a further 150 at iGB Affiliate London.
In less than two weeks, a further 15 new exhibitors had signed up, occupying more than 1,000 square metres of space on the show floor.
“The ICE brand has always worked to represent the entire gaming ecosystem. We continue to be committed to the whole of the industry, including the many smaller businesses throughout the supply chain which rely on ICE London for a significant proportion of their annual turnover,” Hunter added.
“It’s been too long since the business has been able to meet face-to-face and the team is looking forward to bringing everyone together to celebrate the return of the industry in a safe and a secure environment. I would like to add that we will continue to engage with our customers in the run-up to and after the completion of ICE London 2022.”