Not just Fespa but all exhibitions need to think beyond postponements

Fespa Eurasia postponed to December 2021

The Fespa Eurasia event was to take place in December 2020

27 August 2020. You have probably already heard by now that Fespa Eurasia in Istanbul is postponed to 2-5 December 2021. Let us try to be an authoritative source for visitors and exhibitors. 


Firstly, the main Fespa, which is in Europe and called the Global Print Expo 2021, has been postponed to 9 to 12 March 2021 in Amsterdam. Originally planned for Madrid earlier this year, it will be run together with the European Sign Expo 2021 and Sportswear Expo 2021. There is also a Fespa Mexico scheduled from 26 to 28 November 2020 in Mexico City.

European trade fairs are looking at hybrid events

From what we have heard from the Germany based organizers of the Frankfurt Book Fair scheduled for October 2020 and drupa 2021, which was postponed and shortened to 20 to 28 April 2021, these fairs are at a minimum concerned about the Covid-19 pandemic and recovery situations. They realize that global participation will be minimal and that they can, at best, expect European visitors. While FBF has already created a ‘Special Edition’ hybrid even with a strong virtual or digital component (with financial support from the German government), it is clear that drupa 2021 will have to do the same.


Similarly, we believe Fespa’s Global Print Expo in Amsterdam in early March will have to have a robust virtual component to be of any real interest to global visitors. Especially visitors from India who have no idea when they will be allowed to travel overseas, let alone given visas and the possibility of arriving anywhere without quarantine periods. As far as Indian exhibitors at Fespa’s Global Print Expo 2021, they say that they cannot rationally take any steps to take part and cannot foresee the situation changing soon enough.


The problem is not just for Fespa or drupa but for all forthcoming exhibitions. The infection rates, the likely availability of a vaccine, travel conditions and constraints, and the visitors and exhibitors’ economic imperatives are to be taken into account. How can these be balanced with the will to do business without risking employees’ and customers’ health? Some global companies have already written off participation in events till at least the first half of 2021. 

Fespa Eurasia 

This brings us to the Fespa decision to postpone FESPA Eurasia, originally scheduled from 3 – 6 December 2020. “The exhibition, which is hosted in partnership with Fespa’s Turkish Association ARED, will now take place from 2 – 5 December 2021 at the Istanbul Expo Centre in Turkey.’


The organizers admit the move, ‘reflects the ongoing uncertainty and business disruption caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic, and FESPA’s focus on safeguarding the health and safety of exhibitors, visitors, and contractors.’ 


Fespa CEO Neil Felton comments, “The feedback from our FESPA Eurasia exhibitor and visitor community has been very positive and we’re enthusiastic about returning to Istanbul in December 2021 to provide a regional event platform that supports the market with business recovery and celebrates the industry.” 


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Naresh Khanna
Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy.


  1. Unfortunately, it seems that Ron Augustin’s article ‘The end of the great international tradeshows’ is coming true. The Covid-19 pandemic has been far more devastating than anyone imagined and not only the trade show organizers but all of us keep hoping there is an end in sight but the horizon keeps moving further away.

  2. Further, I was just reading about a discussion held by the African stakeholders in the exhibition and travel industry and it was pointed out that apart from the strictures of European countries against their residents traveling to Africa or Asia, there is the not so small matter of their insurance companies giving or not giving travel and health insurance for these visits.

    In the main, we have thought of great international trade fairs in the European context but we need to look at trade fairs everywhere and the local fairs will probably lead the way back to the new normal. This means that the marketing and sales and demonstrations will also have to devolve to national and local open house events and exhibitions. And the virtual events which have been found boring by some will have to improve their quality.


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