After almost two years of pandemic and curbs on public gatherings, people are flocking to amusement shows.
Amusement shows are witnessing a surge in visitors a year after reopening in January last year.
Sunil Nair, senior manager at National Consumer Fair (NCF) and in charge of the exhibition in Kengeri said, “Business right now is way better than what it was this time last year.” The number of visitors has increased significantly. The company resumed shows in early 2022 when they had around 400–500 people visiting in a day. Nair said that the number of visitors was quite low in Ballari, which was their first show in 2022.
“But now, the number has increased to 1000–2000 in a day which is a blessing in itself,” he continued. Karnataka is not an exception in this case. The company had held an identical show in Andhra Pradesh with similar responses. Nair reminisced that on any given day in 2019, he could easily expect 3000 visitors. He continued that advertisements played a big role in increasing the footfall at the shows.
The NCF is currently showing an underwater aqua tunnel in Kengeri and J P Nagar, the first of its kind in Bengaluru. There are display cases containing various fishes such as yellow parrot cichlid, zebrafish, tiger shark, etc. But, the main attraction is the water tunnel where the visitors walk under a glass display full of fish.
A visitor to the aquarium show in Kengeri, Srinivas Naidu said this was a unique experience for him but he was disappointed with the types of fishes that were displayed. He wished that there were more uncommon fishes in the aquariums.
When visitors pay an entrance fee of Rs. 80, they are paying for more than just the aquarium show. There is a fair right outside the show hall where there are rides, food stalls and vendor stalls selling various merchandise.
Rahul tends to the jewellery stall right at the entrance of the shopping aisle. This is not the first time he is setting up a stall here but this is the best response he has ever gotten. He said, “Last weekend, during Makar Sankranti, the crowd was so large that there was no space to stand in front of my stall.”
Advertisements for such shows are done in various forms such as newspapers, loudspeakers, car announcements, and notices or posters. Angel, a newbie at exhibitions said that this was her second time attending an exhibition show. She had seen posters of the aquarium show and decided to visit because she got curious about the exhibition.
Rajan P, Manager at NCF said that they had to shut down shows completely in 2020 when the pandemic happened and lockdown was imposed.
Saianand Rajaraman, a business analyst, said that the unorganized sector was severely hit by the pandemic. Unlike the IT industry, which survived through work-from-home module, these small shops or kiranas had no alternative. He said, “The pandemic certainly changed the way these small businesses look at operations now. Instead of a fixed stall, vegetable sellers are now using mobile vans to do business.”
NCF Senior Manager Nair continued, “The main point of any business is to make a profit. With the lockdown, there was no chance that we could sustain business.” Holding an exhibition includes several heavy expenses which cannot be covered if the company is not making money.
The first concern is the grounds for a large-scale exhibition. The organisers need to make sure that it is large enough and has sufficient exposure that can attract visitors. Most of these grounds do not have an electricity connection, so a temporary connection needs to be arranged.
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