Fespa 2021 postponed for a third time to October 2021

Indians keen to show their stuff at Fespa Amsterdam in October

Fespa 2021 postponed for a third time to October 2021 (Image: Fespa)

Fespa has postponed its 2021 Global Print Expo and the co-located European Sign Expo from March until October 2021 while remaining at the RAI exhibition center in Amsterdam, in The Netherlands. The latest push is the third try for the organizers who first moved the show from Madrid in March to Madrid in September this year and then again to Amsterdam in March 2021.

All international exhibitions in the RAI calendar have been moved out of Q1 and re-scheduled into Q2 or later. The ongoing uncertainty over Covid-19 related travel restrictions and visitor quarantine arrangements in The Netherlands and Europe continues as elsewhere. On 3 December, Messe Dusseldorf finally recognized the impossibility of holding interpack and drupa in February and April 2021 and canceled both as live events. Those shows have moved to 2023 and 2024. On the other hand, the Fespa organizers and RAI presume that the pandemic will be under control by Q2 of 2021. It could happen since
several vaccines have come into play and could ramp up in the first half of 2021.

One of the significant Indian exhibitors at Fespa is optimistic about participating in the October 2021 Fespa event. Although he will decide in Q1 of next year, he says it is an essential show for several Indian manufacturers.

The Fespa events are now scheduled on 12-15 October 2021 in the same halls of the RAI, enabling the organizers to transition the current floor plan to the new dates. The delay to October has strong support from the exhibitor base, who understand the travel restrictions would have eliminated some of the large contingents from outside Europe.

Neil Felton, Fespa CEO, said, “The decision to push the event back by seven months doesn’t dent our exhibitors’ enthusiasm for a live Fespa exhibition as the engine for business recovery. Nor does it reflect any concerns about delivering a Covid-secure event. Rigorous health and safety protocols are in place with the RAI, and we’re confident of protecting our exhibitors and visitors to the best of our professional ability.”

He added, “However, the situation regarding cross-border travel into The Netherlands is uncertain at this point. . . Our exhibitors are now at the point of having to make detailed logistical plans and commit further costs to be at our events. [Hence] we believe that the right step is to move to our October 2021 contingency dates, enabling us and our participants to plan with greater confidence.”

According to the organizers, the majority of Global Print Expo and European Sign Expo exhibitors are expected to transfer their contracts to the alternative dates. Several suppliers whose company policies precluded them from participating in March 2021 have indicated that they would be keen to exhibit at an Autumn event.

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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