Plans to create a bustling Innovation Hub and ultra-modern congress venue, a campus and an engineering school on the grounds of Fiera di Padova prompts the question of whether future editions of Flormart will stay true to where it began in 1975 or relocate to Parma, the hometown of the new organiser.
On Tuesday, 26 September, one of Europe’s oldest floriculture trade shows marked a new milestone with the Padua city council, the university and Chamber of Commerce of Padua and trade show organiser Padova Hall signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which will see the city’s eastern Quadrante Est district undergoing a major overhaul.
For decades, Fiera di Padova, has been one of the landmark buildings in the area, but it will now gradually transform into Innovation Hub and campus with an ultra-modern congress venue and engineering school occupying pride of place.
The signatories, each within their own sphere of competence, seek to deepen the relationship between their consecutive research and innovation communities. Their final goal is to enhance educational activities and those of the so-called ‘third mission’ focusing on the economic development of the entire city.
Commenting on the MOU, Padua’s Mayor Sergio Giordani, told newsoutlet PadovaOggi, “Padua’s convention centre is an important public asset of the entire city and our territory. With this agreement, Padua’s institutional actors take a significant step forward towards a future Fiera di Padova that creates synergy and serves public interest underpinned by a shared strategic planning.”
Giordani says that the world is changing, and thinks the fairgrounds “should evolve into as a bustling pole located in the heart of the city.”
The ‘Padonovation’ revamp will help academics, entrepreneurs, researchers, and students transform their creative ideas into viable commercial ventures. The whole project will also merge the old with the new.
For example, the old, that is, Flormart, has been occurring annually at Fiera di Padova for many decades. However, the signatories did not clearly state the future trade show activities within Fiera di Padova.
Nicola Rossi, president of trade show and event organiser at Padova Hall, did not clarify further. He declared, “The agreement marks a further step of the city’s development with the exhibition centre transforming into an innovation hub at the city’s disposal. The MOU will allow Padova Hall to enhance its activities and its wealth of knowledge sharing, benefiting the territory.
The Congress Centre and the University already co-organised large-scale scientific events attracting tens of thousands of congress participants each year, which generate a significant induced activity for Padua.”
This year’s “The Green Italy’- themed event, held at Fiera di Padova between 20-22 September 2023, attracted 4,000 visitors and 200 exhibitors from home and abroad. The show spanned 2 adjoining halls (7&8) on the fairgrounds of Fiera di Padova/PadovaFiere.
Once again, the Italian Trade Agency (ITA) delivered excellent work by bringing in 300 pre-screened national and international buyers from the MENASA region (Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia) and the Balkans. Exhibitors said that the international buyer programme allowed the make contact with prospective international partners and that the outcome was beyond expectations.
The 2023 Flormart show welcomed back Italy’s major Italian tree and plant nurseries such as Vivai Vannucci and Piante Faro, which after a few years of absence decided to return to Padua.
At the same time, other important industry players including Giorgio Tesi showcased their products and service in ANVE’s collective pavilion. ANVE (Associazione Nazionale Vivaisti Esportatori) is Italy’s National Association Of Nursery Stock Exporters.
The underlaying message of show organiser Fiera di Parma and the more than 20 well-attended Flormart side events – workshops and conferences – was that planting trees, shrubs and perennials is important in the fight against climate change.
Many local authorities – states, regions, provinces and municipalities – have vowed to plant billions of plants and for that crucial assistance is needed from the green supply chain.
Nine exhibitors took home the ‘Flormart – The Green Italy Award recognising the ecological benefits of the products that were entered.
In speaking with exhibitors, what stood out most is market uncertainty, with peaks and troughs. This business volatility is partially due to adverse weather in different parts of the country. The northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna is one of the most important markets for plants. In May heavy storms caused deadly flooding and landslides. In Lombardy heavy storms uprooted many century-old trees, forcing parks and other public spaces to close down for an extended period. There have even been reports of widespread damage to greenhouse structures in the region.
Meanwhile, it turns out that the market buoyancy as seen in Covid-19 times is fragile. Interest rates, inflation, staff shortages, and Russia’s ongoing war waged against Ukraine greatly impacts holding positiveness going forward.
As Fiera di Padova gradually transforms into an Innovation and Academic Centre, the question which is on everyone’s lips is what all this will mean for the 73rd edition of Flormart in 2024?
Since 2021, Flormart is owned by Fiera di Parma. So, it is not unlikely that Flormart will relocate to Parma in the longer term. The contract between Fiera di Padova and Fiera di Parma stipulating that Flormat is held annually in Padua expires in 2025.
Meanwhile competition in horticultural trade shows in Italy is fierce as this month the Greenscape show for green contractors and landscapers opens at Fiera di Rimini between 11-13 October. This new trade show will coincide with TTG Travel Experience, one of Italy’s leading travel and tourism events.