Not just Fespa but all exhibitions need to think beyond postponements

Fespa Eurasia postponed to December 2021

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FESPA
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.” 

 

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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