Author: Ron van der Ploeg
ESSEN, Germany: According to Messe Essen, the organiser of the annual IPM Essen show, the commitment among the industry to the world’s premier horticultural trade exhibition is truly impressive. To date, 907 exhibitors have confirmed their participation in the event dates from 26-29 January 2021. While fully respecting the joint decision of 19 (predominantly Dutch) exhibitors to cancel their participation in the 2021 show, Messe Essen CEO Oliver Kuhrt stresses that the withdrawing of these companies is ‘an absolute exception’.
The cancelling exhibitors include ABZ Seeds BV; P. van der Haak Handelskwekerij; Beekenkamp Plants BV; PanAmerican Seed; Danziger; Renner Print; DeCock Plants; Sakata Ornamentals; Dümmen Orange The Netherlands BV; Schneider Youngplants; Evanthia Seeds & Plants; Schoneveld Breeding; Florensis; Sentier Az; Gediflora; Syngenta Flowers; HilverdaFlorist; Westhoff and MNP flowers/Suntory Flowers. In a joint statement on 10 September they said: “In light of the recent developments concerning COVID-19, the ongoing risk for our customers and employees and the responsibility that we see as our duty to help stop the spread of the virus, we have decided not to take part in IPM 2021.”
Not more than three hours later on the same day, IPM Essen sent out the following message that “for the majority of the exhibitors, participation in IPM ESSEN as an indispensable communication and sales platform is a matter of course.”
Oliver Kuhrt was quick to add, “We are currently experiencing not only in Essen that large fairs with international participation can once again be held successfully.”
He was referencing among others to Messe Essen’s Bridal Week, which was a successful testing ground for the IPM Essen. The event was from 4-6 July, and everything went smoothly. Messe Essen says that the decisive factor for many exhibitors to participate once again in international trade shows is the very rigorous hygiene protocols that are in place to ensure exhibitors and visitors remain safe and following government advice and social distancing guidance.
“A fair is not a concert or a soccer match. The distances between the participants are greater, and they are also much more widely spread over time. That’s why we are expecting regional shifts due to travel restrictions, but assume that not much will change in the overall picture,” says Sabina Großkreuz, Head of Marketing at Messe Essen.
Messe Essen’s hygiene protocols are online at www.ipm-essen.de and were more recently successfully applied at the All About Automation trade fair. In addition to minimum distances and a mask requirement, it includes, for example, online registration of all participants and increased opportunities for disinfection and hand washing.
Adequate hygiene protection is not only in practice at the event organisation; it is also one of the focal points of discussion at the IPM ESSEN 2021. “The IPM Discovery Centre, in which we present innovative concepts for the point of sale every year, is dedicated to the safety in garden centres in 2021,” explains creative director Romeo Sommers. “From shop-fitting to visitor guidance and product presentation, we will be showing solutions for active infection protection, which today is a prerequisite for successfully addressing customers.”
The concept is well received by the exhibitors, as Daan Bartels from the Dutch plant grower Air so pure, confirms: “We definitely intend to participate in the IPM Discovery Centre. The IPM ESSEN is the largest and best fair to show new trendsetting concepts and innovations. Here we want to take up the topic of the Covid-19 pandemic and show new ways to a Corona-safe garden centre with our plants. With the harmonious hygiene concept of Messe Essen, we feel very safe at IPM ESSEN.”
More international exhibitors underline their commitment to the upcoming trade fair. Pat Flynn, Trade Association Manager of the British Commercial Horticultural Association (CHA), states: “CHA will participate in IPM ESSEN 2021 with a British joint participation. We feel that we are in very good hands with the hygiene concept of Messe Essen, about which we have been informed in detail. IPM ESSEN is the place to be for our members. We want to show the world that Britain is open for business.”
Dirk Bader, Chairman of Landgard eG, shares this point of view: “As the undisputed leading international fair of the green industry, IPM ESSEN has a very high significance for Landgard. Every year, it offers us exactly the right framework to be able to present our products, concepts, and topics to the professional world. All those who have connections with the green industry will find the unique opportunity to exchange experiences, to find inspiration and to conclude successful business deals at IPM ESSEN. For this reason, we also see ourselves as partners of IPM ESSEN and Messe Essen as a whole. We are already looking forward to next year’s show.
Sensibly, in planning and implementing our fair participation, we will, in addition to our protective measures, also take into account all the valid requirements of the responsible authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia and the hygiene and infection protection concept of Messe Essen, among other things, provides for minimum distances and the compulsory wearing of