In what seemed like an increasingly inevitable move due to the ongoing worldwide situation around the pandemic, the Messe today postponed a further raft of trade fairs including Interpack, due to take place in May, and Drupa which was due to run from 16-26 June.
The new dates are: Interpack 25 February to 3 March 2021, and Drupa 20-30 April 2021.
In a statement, the Messe said it was following the recommendation of the crisis management team of the German Federal Government. “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 2020, in which major events with more than 1,000 participants present at the same time are generally prohibited,” it said.
Werner Dornscheidt, CEO of Messe Düsseldorf said: “Our customers, partners and employees trust us. Not only when it comes to the professional and successful handling of major international events in Düsseldorf. They can also have this trust in us when we make decisions about critical situations in the interests of their safety.”
One seasoned Drupa exhibitor commented: “It’s terribly sad but I guess it’s the right decision. We are 90 days out and a lot of contracts have 90-day deadlines so the pressure from exhibitors will have been enormous.
“They simply couldn’t guarantee things would be better by June.”
Germany posted a big increase in coronavirus cases yesterday (13 March) with the total rising by 802 to 2,369.
The other trade fairs postponed by the Messe were: Beauty (18-20 September 2020, new date TBC), Top Hair (19-20 September 2020, new date TBC), Wire & Tube (7-11 December 2020, new date TBC) and ProWein which will now take place from 21-23 March 2021.
Claus Bolza-Schünemann, chairman of the Drupa advisory board and CEO of Koenig & Bauer, said: "Drupa is the leading trade fair and the highlight of an entire industry. This is why we stand behind the responsible decision of Messe Düsseldorf to postpone Drupa until April 2021 due to the current threat posed by the corona virus.
"The safety and health of all those involved has top priority. Nevertheless: we at Koenig & Bauer have put a lot of energy and heart and soul into Drupa. We would like to share this with you - also in 2021 - and of course on the way there. Stay tuned, it's worth it!"
HP is the biggest-single exhibitor at Drupa. A spokesperson said: "We're obviously disappointed but we're not surprised and are fully supportive of the decision. We're committed to the event and to the industry and very much looking forward to Drupa 2021 in its new slot and can't wait to show our products. We have no plans to scale down our presence."
Tatsuo Murakami, general manager at Riso UK, reacting after Printweek tweeted the news, said: "It is a sensible decision, good to know at this stage rather than later. We hope we will have a successful Drupa 2021."
In its pre-Drupa briefing yesterday Heidelberg had already acknowledged that Drupa might not take place.
Following the Messe's announcement, the world's largest press manufacturer issued a statement that said: "Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG supports the decision of the fair in regard of the current health situation. Regardless of the postponement of the fair, Heidelberg continues to drive the innovations forward and will launch and make them available to the customers as planned. In addition, Heidelberg is working on an alternative for its customers who will receive further information shortly."
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