Announcing that the printing world will have no drupa next year, organisers have pointed to 2024 for the next show.
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused the cancellation. Erhard Wienkamp, chief operating officer for event organiser Messe Düsseldorf, says, “The pandemic has caused a great deal of uncertainty among exhibitors and visitors in terms of their attendance at drupa 2021. Travel restrictions and budget constraints have further exacerbated the situation in the printing industry.
“We have taken this decision to have no drupa next year in consultation with our partners, who are entirely supportive of it. It was preceded by a detailed process of considering the current conditions and the needs of the industry.”
Look to 2024
He adds that the next drupa will take place as scheduled from May 28 to June 7 in 2024. To maintain the momentum until then, the organiser will host a digital event titled ‘virtual.drupa’, taking place from April 20-23, 2021, during the time frame it had scheduled for the physical event.
Sabine Geldermann, project director for Print Technologies at Messe Düsseldorf, says, “Our primary goal remains to support the industry in any way we can to keep in contact at a national and international level, further develop their network and generate leads. To this end, we will hold an interim event from April 20-23, 2021. This will provide our exhibitors and visitors with an additional sales channel, allowing them to make reliable plans.”
Claus Bolza-Schünemann, chairman at König und Bauer and president of drupa, welcomes this approach. He says, “A virtual event is exactly the right format in the current time. Attending drupa under the usual parameters was just too great a risk for many exhibitors. Also, declining export and turnover figures, as well as significant travel restrictions, would also affect visitors. The new digital forum is a virtual platform, which provides a reliable pillar. It offers an opportunity to maintain valuable communications within the industry until 2024.”
Launched in October, the drupa preview platform offers an impression of what ‘virtual.drupa’ will look like. It will give companies the opportunity to showcase themselves and their innovations virtually. It will enable them to maintain existing contacts and establish new ones via the matchmaking feature. The conference schedule of the five drupa hot spots will provide key incentives and set the agenda for an online transfer of knowledge. International speakers will present success stories of Future Technologies in the Cube, outlining the future for the industry.
Markus Heering, managing director of the German VDMA Printing and Paper Technology Association, says, “Our members tell us that trade fairs that drive their business forward are still in great demand. The value and appeal of drupa remain intact. The decision to suspend it in 2021 is entirely down to the pandemic.
“In the long run, it is important for all of us to maintain drupa as an international platform. It displays the diversity of our industry. 200 years of expertise are rooted in Europe and must continue. However, we welcome the introduction of the new digital platform as an interim solution until 2024.”
Messe Düsseldorf says the printing industry continues to fully back the global trade fair. The organiser describes drupa as a platform demanding open and competitive market comparison. It also sees the show as a driving force for innovation, benefiting exhibitors and visitors in equal measure. It says, “Through direct contact, people can experience and compare technology trends and innovations and discover new synergies. Replicating its impetus, selling power and atmosphere, as well as the ability to exchange ideas with like-minded industry colleagues and nurture relationships, has certain limits when conducted in an online format. Despite no drupa next year, the organisers aim to satisfy this demand with ‘virtual.drupa’.
Wienkamp concludes, “Messe Düsseldorf remains in close contact with the authorities and its partners of all other events. We will evaluate the circumstances in a timely manner to take the responsible decision.”