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Following close consultation with exhibitors and partners, the 2021 edition of drupa, the world’s leading trade fair for Printing Technologies, will be cancelled due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The next event will take place as scheduled from 28th May to 7th June 2024. To maintain the momentum until then, the organisers will be holding a four-day digital event titled ‘virtual.drupa’, to take place from 20th to 23rd April 2021 during the time frame drupa was originally scheduled for.
“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,” explains Erhard Wienkamp, COO at Messe Düsseldorf. “We have taken this decision 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.”
Claus Bolza-Schünemann, Chairman at König und Bauer and president of drupa, welcomes this approach: “A virtual event is exactly the right format in the current time,” he says. “Attending drupa under the usual parameters was just too great a risk for many exhibitors, given declining export and turnover figures, as well as significant travel restrictions, which would also affect visitors. The new digital forum is a virtual platform, providing a reliable pillar and an opportunity to maintain valuable communications within the industry until 2024.”
Launched in October, the drupa preview platform already offers an impression of what ‘virtual.drupa’ will look like. It will give companies the opportunity to showcase themselves and their innovations virtually, as well as maintain existing contacts and establish new ones via the matchmaking feature. In addition, the conference schedule of the five drupa hot spots will provide key incentives and set the agenda for an online transfer of knowledge.
“Our members are telling us, that trade fairs to 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,” stresses Dr Markus Heering, Managing Director of the VDMA Printing and Paper Technology Association. “In the long run, it is important for all of us to maintain drupa as an international platform in Europe, as 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.”
“Today’s decision to cancel drupa 2021 and present it in a different format has been an event- and industry-specific one,” Wienkamp concludes. “Messe Düsseldorf remains in close contact with the authorities and its partners of all other events, and we will evaluate the circumstances in a timely manner to take the responsible decision.”