FESPA fans undeterred by ash cloud

Fespa Midshow

The first day of FESPA Digital 2011 met the optimistic expectations of exhibitors, with the atrium entrance of Messe Hamburg packed with visitors long before FESPA President Gyorgy Kovacs opened the show. Pre-registration for FESPA Digital and FESPA Fabric had exceeded 22000 as the show opened, promising a vibrant and bustling event.

Stand holders across all four FESPA Digital halls reported a busy day on Tuesday 25th May, and with noteworthy European launches from many major exhibitors, technology innovation is still proving to be a significant attraction for printers visiting the show.

The Day 1 (Tuesday 24th May) visitor figure exceeded 4500 individuals, a marked increase on the equivalent day in Amsterdam in 2009. Inbound visitors on Day 2 were undoubtedly impacted by the closure of Hamburg airport as a consequence of the ash cloud arising from the eruption of the Grímsvötn volcano in Iceland. Despite this, by 16.00h on Wednesday 25th May, the show had received 3174 new visitors, and a further 2054 visitors had returned after the first day, bringing the day’s total at that point to 5228.

The FESPA exhibition team on site responded quickly to the airport closure at 06.00h on Wednesday 25th, establishing a dedicated information point in the atrium entrance, and updating prospective visitors via www.fespa.com, Twitter, email and with a prompt update to the FESPA Digital mobile ‘app’. With two full exhibition days now remaining, FESPA remains extremely optimistic regarding overall visitor attendance.

Managing director Neil Felton comments: “We’re very satisfied with the way the show has gone so far. Build went smoothly, and exhibitors have been very content with traffic and visitor quality. Naturally it’s frustrating that the second day has been disrupted by the airport closure, though happily the airport re-opened at around midday, boding well for the remainder of the show. In the meantime we’ve done everything possible to ensure that visitors already here in Hamburg, and those travelling to the show, have had access to relevant and accurate information via FESPA.”

He continues, “This morning we were inundated with enquiries from printers all over Europe, eager to make their way to Hamburg to participate in FESPA, and pursuing every possible travel option so as not to miss out on the event. That’s a great testament to the international regard for FESPA as the single most important meeting place for the wide format imaging community.”