Covid 19 – Bologna Children’s Book Fair postponed to May 2020

International trade fairs taking measures against coronavirus contamination

Covid-19 Bologna Children's Book Fair postponed
Bologna Children's Book Fair Photo: Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

Due to the Covid 19 emergency in Northern Italy, the organizers of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair have postponed the event from March to May. For the time being, the fair has been rescheduled for 4-7 May 2020.

For Fespa, to be held 24-27 March in Madrid alongside European Sign Expo and Sportswear Pro, trade fair organizers have started to announce drastic measures against the risks of Covid 19 virus contamination.

Fespa organizers have contacted all exhibiting companies from China, requiring that they provide documented evidence that all representatives of their company attending the exhibitions, including sub-contractors, have not resided in or visited China at any time after March 5th. This represents a two-week period preceding the beginning of the build-up of the exhibitions.

Exhibiting companies from China not fulfilling this requirement will not be able to participate, and their options are being communicated to them in writing by Fespa’s representatives in China.

Fespa believes that this proactive policy is in the best interests of the health and well-being of exhibitors, attendees, partners and staff, as well as the general public in Madrid.

The fair’s organizers are also in contact with the other exhibitors and pre-registered visitors to advise them and to request that they should not attend if they have visited China after March 5th. This information has also been published on the event websites and communicated via the Fespa National Associations.

Similar measures are to be expected at the other upcoming trade fairs.

50 Chinese exhibitors pull out of ISE, attendance fell 38%

At Europe’s most important systems integration trade fair, ISE, held 11-14 February in Amsterdam, all 50 Chinese exhibitors and a twenty+ other companies including LG withdrew out of fear for the spread of the virus, and visitor attendance fell by 38%.

Recently most alarming, however, is the rapid spread of the virus in Korea and Italy, two of the main bases for machine manufacturers exhibiting at the upcoming Interpack and drupa events.

In Northern Italy, the Lombardy region around Milan has been affected, which is the hotspot of Italian packaging and printing machinery manufacturers, including Bobst and Omet. Within days, Covid 19 contamination hit more than 200 people in this region, and the authorities haven’t been able to identify the source of the contamination as yet. So far, there seems to be no connection with people who would have traveled from China. Most of Lombardy and surrounding areas have been locked down, schools and enterprises have been closed, and it looks like the postponement of BCBF is only the beginning. As to Interpack and drupa, crucial for the Italian manufacturers, consequences will be as drastic as for the participants from China, Korea and who knows where still.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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