Northprint to stay in Harrogate as Informa eyes growth
By Darryl Danielli Friday, 09 March 2012
Next year's Northprint exhibition will remain in Harrogate after "extensive" independent research led organiser Informa to leave the biannual show at its spiritual home.
"We’re full steam ahead. We spent a lot of time consulting the market through independent research, talking to a huge number of printers, past attendees and pre-registered non-attendees, as well as exhibitors, and the research came out strongly in favour of staying in Harrogate," said Informa Print Group director Trevor Crawford.
Informa first mooted a possible switch in venue at last year’s show, although at the time Crawford stressed it was just one of the options open to Informa to broaden the geographic footprint of the event, following the weak attendance figures of the recession-hit 2009 show.
However, numbers in 2011 were 40% up on 2009, with more than 2,350 attending the Yorkshire event. Around 60% of last year’s visitors were from the north of the country.
"It’s important to remember that Northprint is not a regional show by any means and the same is true of its exhibitor base. We got it back on track in 2011 and virtually doubled the size in terms of footprint and visitors, but I don’t want to stop there and I want 2013 to build on that," added Crawford.
According to Informa’s research, carried out by Fusion Communications, 75% of exhibitors and 70% of visitors said that a move to Manchester would have no impact on their attendance or would actually make them less likely to attend.
"I never believe that any show is venue-bound, so we wanted to look at other options, and Birmingham and Manchester were both on the table. But there is no question that there is an emotional connection with Harrogate on many different levels. And so Harrogate it is," said Crawford.
While Crawford admitted that the show's attendance figures of circa 3,500 a decade ago were never likely to be repeated, due the dramatic consolidation in the sector in recent years, he stressed that he was still looking to grow the show.
"I’m keen to examine the area of wide-format, but also look outside the commercial print market at areas such as flexo, which is strongly represented in the north of the country, as well as other niche areas," said Crawford.
"We haven’t given up on litho, though. We’ll be working hard to get litho to the show, as it still attracts an enormous level of interest from visitors."
The 2013 show will also build on the range of free features that were present at the 2011 show, such as workshops, the Printers’ Profit Zone, and the Litho Technology Theatre.
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