What was already becoming apparent after the corona-related cancellations by prominent manufacturers is now official: The attempt to postpone the drupa planned for this year to April 20-23 next year has failed: Because of the pandemic, the world’s leading trade show for the printing industry will not take place as a physical event in the exhibition halls in Duesseldorf, Germany. Instead, there will be a “virtual drupa” as a four-day digital event during this period. As a “real” trade show, the next drupa is scheduled to take place from May 28th to June 7th, 2024.
“The pandemic has caused a great deal of uncertainty among exhibitors and visitors in terms of their attendance at drupa 2021“, explained Erhard Wienkamp, COO of Messe Düsseldorf. “Travel restrictions and budget constraints have further exacerbated the situation in the printing industry. 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.”
drupa President Claus Bolza-Schünemann, CEO of König und Bauer, welcomed this approach: ”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, 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.”
The drupa preview platform, which was launched in October this year, has already given an outlook on what “virtual.drupa” might look like: Companies will have the opportunity to present themselves virtually and demonstrate their innovations, to make new contacts via matchmaking and to maintain existing ones. In addition, the conference program at the five drupa hotspots is intended to provide key incentives and set the agenda for an online transfer of knowledge. International speakers will present successful brand stories on Future Technologies in the Cube.
The virtualization of the traditional printing fair should not represent a rejection of physical events in the future: “Our members are telling us, that trade fairs to drive their business forward are still in great demand“, emphasized the Managing Director of the VDMA Printing and Paper Technology Association, Dr. Markus Heering. ”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 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.”
According to a press release by Messe Düsseldorf, the printing industry continues to fully back its leading global trade fair, whose international reach remains unbroken. As a platform that demands an open and competitive market comparison, it is a driving force for innovation, benefiting exhibitors and visitors in equal measure. With “virtual.drupa” and the annual “Print & Digital Convention” in Düsseldorf, which is organized in cooperation with the Fachverband Medienproduktion eV (fmp), Messe Düsseldorf aims to meet this demand until drupa returns as a live event in 2024 with new, valuable parameters and hybrid propositions.