Next month’s event, which is co-located with sister shows European Sign Expo and Sportswear Pro, originally had more than 150 Chinese firms due to take part but the coronavirus outbreak has thrown their attendance into question.
Last week Fespa announced restrictions on Chinese exhibitors and their contractors. The new policy requires documentary evidence that those attending the exhibition have been outwith China after 5 March. That date marks two weeks prior to the beginning of the build-up for the event, which will take place from 24-27 March in Madrid.
Printweek has learned that Fespa has now opted to remove hall 2 from the original floorplan, consolidating the event into four halls.
In a statement, Fespa said: “Fespa has been in close dialogue with its Chinese exhibitors, who have been positively reassured by our actions and have been able to make contingency plans accordingly.
“Fespa has made the decision to adjust the original floorplan, which has now been consolidated to halls 1,3,5 and 7.”
At 5,400sqm Hall 2 was the joint-smallest hall along with hall 1 and contained a number of Fespa-specific show features including the World Wrap Masters, Club Fespa, and the Fespa Awards showcase. This provides Fespa with some flexibility about where to relocate these features in its revised floorplan.
The number of Chinese exhibitor cancellations is not yet clear.
In recent days coronavirus cases in continental Europe have increased after an outbreak in Northern Italy involving more than 300 people, with a number of fresh cases in other countries linked to people who had travelled from that region. However, just one case of coronavirus has been reported in mainland Spain so far.
In an update on its website, Fespa gold sponsor Hanglory Group said that the firm’s management at its factory in Shenzhen, China, had closely followed developments and had set up an epidemic prevention team with a number of preventative measures incorporated into daily management of the company. The firm makes UV printers under the HandTop brand.
Meanwhile, it’s business as usual for other exhibitors with firms including HP, Roland DG, Canon, EFI Reggiani, Sai and Agfa all ramping up their pre-show promotional activity ahead of the event.