Fespa postpones for third time, now running October

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Global wide format expo Fespa has been postponed, for the third time, with organisers now pushing the show back from March to October, as the host RAI Amsterdam location closed to all shows in Q1.

Vibrant programme: Fespa
Postponed to October: Fespa

The exhibition was originally due to take place in March this year in Madrid. It was then postponed to September, then to March next year in Amsterdam, now it will take place October 12-15.

The raging coronavirus pandemic across Europe left the organisers with little choice but to call off the March event. They will now be hoping that the vaccines – the first of which are now being given in the UK – will be implemented across the continent by April, enabling them to go to exhibitors with confidence to say the show is on.

The inevitable postponement comes hot on the heels of both drupa and interpack being cancelled just last week, both of which were due to take place around the same time as Fespa and only 300 kilometres away in Düsseldorf.

For Australians hoping to make the trip, the March Fespa was moot as they are currently banned from leaving the country. Australians will also be hoping that a vaccine will mean the travel ban is lifted by next October. Fespa traditionally attracts a decent number of Aussie and Kiwi sign and display printers.

The move to postpone follows confirmation that all international exhibitions in the RAI calendar have been moved out of Q1 2021 and re-scheduled into Q2 or later. This reflects ongoing uncertainty over Covid-related travel restrictions and visitor quarantine arrangements in the Netherlands and the risk that these could continue to affect exhibitors and visitors through early 2021.

The Fespa events will now take place from 12-15 October in the same halls of the RAI, enabling Fespa to transition the current floor plan to the later date. The delay to October has strong support from the exhibitor base, who understand the clear rationale of addressing the risk that exhibitor personnel and visitors may still be unable to travel freely into Amsterdam in early March 2021.

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.

“However, the situation regarding cross-border travel into the Netherlands is uncertain at this point. Since our exhibitors are now at the point of having to make detailed logistical plans and commit further costs to be at our events, 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.”

The majority of Global Print Expo and European Sign Expo exhibitors will simply transfer their contracts to the alternative dates, and several suppliers whose company policies precluded them from participating in March 2021 have indicated that they would be keen to exhibit at an October event.

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