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SEMA cancels November show in Las Vegas

Updated August 5, 2020 - 4:51 pm

Two more major tradeshows are scratching their plans for Las Vegas this year.

The concurrent Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo and the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show said Wednesday they are cancelling their annual conventions in November due to COVID-19 and exploring virtual options.

The co-located shows, which allow registrants of either convention to attend the other, drew upwards of 160,000 people last year, making them the second most attended annual shows only behind CES, which canceled its in-person 2021 convention last week.

They are among the dozens of other conventions and business gatherings that have been canceled or postponed this year due to COVID-19.


Specialty Equipment Market Association, or SEMA, had planned for the 2020 SEMA Show from Nov. 3-6, but “mounting uncertainty has rendered continuing with the event inadvisable,” SEMA president and CEO Chris Kersting said in a statement.

“While we are disappointed circumstances prevent us from hosting the Show in November, we look forward to getting everyone together in 2021 for another outstanding event,” he said.

AAPEX, operated by the Auto Care Association and the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association, said Wednesday it is also canceling its in-person trade show originally schedule from Nov. 3-5, in favor of a virtual event because of Nevada’s COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings and “severe limitations” to global travel.

“This was a difficult decision but circumstances on the ground made it impossible to have the show that we planned for our exhibitors and attendees,” said AASA president Paul McCarthy.

Both automotive equipment shows are not open to the public as they are business-to-business events.

‘Difficult decision’

SEMA’s trade show has routinely drawn thousands of people to Las Vegas since 1977 when it moved from Anaheim Convention Center in California.

Last year, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority estimated that the 2019 SEMA-AAPEX shows would result in an economic impact of $259 million, a 10.3 percent increase from 2018. A spokeswoman for LVCVA said that of the 42.5 million visitors who came to Las Vegas in 2019, 6.6 million were business travelers.

“We are grateful for our 40-year plus relationship with SEMA and certainly understand and respect their difficult decision to cancel their in-person show,” said Steve Hill, president and CEO of LVCVA, in a statement Wednesday. “We appreciate SEMA’s ongoing commitment to Las Vegas and while we’ll greatly miss hosting their exhibitors and attendees.”

Contact Jonathan Ng at jng@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ByJonathanNg on Twitter.

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