VIRUS: Mega show drupa pushed out to next April
The giant trade show drupa 2020, which would have attracted 250,000 printers, has been postponed – for the first time in its history – and will now run next April instead of this June, the move the inevitable result of the growing coronavirus scare which is closing down the world.
Robert Laing, the ANZ Messe rep said, "The overriding factor in the decision for Messe Düsseldorf has always been the health and welfare of its staff , partners and customers – exhibitors , visitors and members of the press."
With the coronavirus crisis growing by the day the Messe Centre management bowed to the inevitable and pulled the show on Friday. It also postponed major packaging event interpack, due to take place in May. Both shows are attended by a sizeable number of Australian and New Zealand print and packaging professionals.
New dates are April 20-30 next year for drupa, and Feb 25-March 3 for interpack. The postponements have been broadly welcomed by exhibitors, with the new dates agreed by drupa and the industry as the first and best possible.
In the end drupa had little choice but to postpone, despite the huge economic cost to the city, which owns the Messe, of the show not going ahead. The bottom line was the health and safety of its staff, exhibitors and vistors. In addition it could not risk the show being called off by the local health authority, Gesundheitsamt, in the weeks or days immediately before the event, or during the exhibition itself, and it had no control over that decision. In addition many stand build contracts have a 90 days deadline, which is next week, which would have added to the exhibitors' stress. And on Thursday gatherings of more than 1000 people in Dusseldorf were banned until April 22. And since the decison was made severe restrictions on movement have been imposed in Germany, which has now effectively closed its borders.
Claus Bolza-Schünemann, president of drupa, and CEO of major exhibitor Koenig and Bauer. explained: “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”.
Due to take place in less than 100 days drupa is the latest trade fair to be postponed, joining more than 500 others around the world, including Fespa Global in Madrid and Dscoop Global in Orlando, that have will now not take place. Overnight Fespa Brazil was also canned.
Germany is currently in the throes of an escalation of the virus, with an increasing number of cases, and fatalities, being recorded each day. The North Rhine-Westphalia region, in which Dusseldorf is located, is the epicentre of the outbreak, with more cases and fatalities there than anywhere else in Germany.
If Germany and Europe follows the China timeline by the time June 16 comes around the virus should be receding, but no-one knows for sure if that will happen.
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, 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, 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," said Werner Dornscheidt, chairman of the board of management of Messe Düsseldorf. 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".