Coronavirus continues to spread – drupa 2020 postponed

Following the recommendation of the crisis management team of the German Federal Government

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The drupa trade fair scheduled for 16-26 June 2020 will be postponed to 20-30 April 2021. In doing so, Messe Düsseldorf is following the recommendation of the crisis management team of the German Federal Government to take into account the principles of the Robert Koch Institute when assessing the risk of major events. Based on this recommendation and the recent significant increase in the number of people infected with the new corona virus (SARS-CoV-2), including in Europe, Messe Düsseldorf has reassessed the situation. In addition, there is the general ruling issued by the city of Düsseldorf on 11 March 2020, in which major events with more than 1,000 participants present at the same time are generally prohibited.

“The decision was taken in close consultation with our advisory boards and sponsoring associations,” emphasises Werner M. Dornscheidt, Chairman of the Board of Management of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH. It also reflects the wishes of individual industries: “As their partner, we are currently doing everything in our power to reduce the economic losses suffered by our exhibitors”.

“The city of Düsseldorf is following the instructions of the state government. Our aim is to slow down the spread of the corona virus so that the health system can continue to function properly,” emphasises Thomas Geisel, Lord Mayor of the state capital of Düsseldorf and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Düsseldorf trade fair company.

Delaying the spread of the virus as far as possible is also a declared goal according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). In order to fulfil Messe Düsseldorf’s responsibility for risk prevention, the company primarily had to minimise the increased risk of infection at major events. Measures to reduce the risk of transmission at major events, which the Robert Koch Institute has clearly defined – such as ventilation of the venue appropriate to the risk of infection, the exclusion of persons from risk groups and the comprehensive installation of entrance screening, were practically impossible to implement. Also, comparable measures were and are unreasonable in view of the unforeseeable rapid development and the size of the various events with up to 60,000 participants.

drupa president Claus Bolza-Schünemann also agrees with this: “A postponement of drupa was unavoidable after the latest developments. The decision is therefore right and responsible. Many exhibitors start their logistical preparations middle of March – today’s announcement of the postponement enables all those affected to react now, reschedule and prepare for the event date in April 2021. The excitement for ’embrace the future’ remains undiminished – also in 2021”.

In view of the increased risk entailed by a fair with significant international participation, the industry associations also welcome the announcement: “drupa is the most important meeting place for the international printing industry,” says Dr. Markus Heering, Managing Director of the Printing and Paper Technology Trade Association of the VDMA. “True to the motto ’embrace the future’, it is characterised by personal, international contact and live product presentations. The risk of infection would simply be too high at present. We therefore support the decision to postpone the event and look forward to the date next year.”

The Düsseldorf hotel industry is also sending out an important signal through its umbrella organisation DEHOGA (Trade Association for the Hospitality Industry): “We appeal to our members and the entire industry to be flexible when it comes to rebooking by exhibitors and visitors. The Düsseldorf trade fairs such as drupa play an enormously important role for the city, the hotel industry and the catering trade. It would be counterproductive not to show goodwill in this situation,” as both DEHOGA-Representatives Giuseppe Saitta (Chairman Düsseldorf/District Group Rhein-Kreis Neuss) and Rolf D. Steinert (Düsseldorf/Rhein-Kreis Neuss Hotels and Tourism Group) emphasise.

Werner M. Dornscheidt is pleased about the general consensus and encouragement in this special situation: “We would like to thank all partners for their excellent cooperation in making these difficult and time sensitive decisions. We are pleased that together dates were found so quickly in order to provide all those affected with reliability in planning.”

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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