What about the fairs?

DOMOTEX 2020 - THE WORLD OF FLOORING Tour 2 bei Jürgen Dahlmanns, RUG STAR, Halle 3, Stand F23

Summer is here, but the holidays look no way near the same as other years. Thanks to our ‘friend’ COVID-19, there is not one country with the same restrictions as another. However, there are a number of red threads. One of these are the fairs. Unfortunately, almost nowhere, organizers of professional fairs have received adequate information on whether, when and how they can safely start organizing again.

Especially in my own country, Belgium, the situation is far from clear. In The Netherlands, for instance, the government issued certain guidelines so organizers at least have a minimal framework of how they should tackle things this autumn and winter, but here? What’s going to happen? Your guess is as good as mine.

Let me primarily state that governments and national security councils all over the globe should be made aware more profoundly of what professional fairs really are. They are certainly not places that people visit just to spend a free afternoon. Quite on the contrary: professionals need instances where they can go and experience new products first hand. Online information is fine, but doesn’t suffice at all. Take textiles: how to judge their quality if you cannot touch them? Or colours? What looks great on the screen can be a total misfit when applied on a piece of furniture.

I sincerely hope we will be ‘going places’ again this autumn and winter. But in order to do so, the necessary signals urgently need to be sent to the different partners that are involved in the organization of a fair. Exhibitors, stand builders, designers, marketing officers,… need many months to prepare for the fairs, it must not be forgotten that perspective should be given in the long run.

Let’s get this sector going again and let it demonstrate that it is perfectly capable of following all the necessary protocols to ensure everybody’s safety. Because yes: a fair can be organized just as safe as, let’s say, a shop, playground, a theatre,… I dare say that it can be done even safer than in most other places, because don’t forget: professional events require registration beforehand. You know perfectly well who is visiting and even when.

Jan Hoffman