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The printing, signage and packaging industry has postponed most of its shows in 2020, others got cancelled, resulting in a multitude of show announcements, dates in the first half of 2021. By Sabine Slaughter

Want to see the world and travel again and are in the printing and packaging industry? Well, then 2021 will be the year for you. Due to the pandemic there is a multitude of shows to choose from on all five continents.
For now we have noted from January till June 2021 59 exhibitions: Starting with Heimtextil, SGI Dubai, Viscom, PSI, PromoTex, Saudi Print&Pack, Domotex, Upakovka, Convertech, Asia Print Expo, Plastics Printing Packaging Ethopia, Print tech & LED Expo, Printtek, Asean Print & Packaging Expo, C!Print, Printpack India, WestPack, Remadays, Fespa, Hannover Messe, APPI – Asia Packaging & Printing Industry Expo, Convertech China, D•PES,, Oman Plast, Sign & Digital UK, Media Expo Mumbai, Interpack, InPrint, ICE, CCE, Packinno, Printing South China, Sino Label Labelexpo, Graphispag, Pack Print Tunisia, Empack Zürich, Inprint USA, MeatTech, TuttoFood, Packaging Innovations, Pakprint, Sign Today, Upackexpo, Gulf Print & Pack, Graphics Canada, World of Digital Print, China Asia Expo, Converflex, Grafitalia, China Print, Expografica, Intergrafika, Andigrafica, drupa, Graphitec, SDW, Sign Today, Indoprint, Printech. And those are not all. In addition some even smaller regional shows are on the trade show calendar.
And we are still counting…
Planning is the A to Z
How to manage all these shows where there might be interesting solutions for your business? First of all ask your travel agent to book you a half-year worldwide ticket with your favourite airline, if there is one. Do not go for a “round the world ticket” as you might want to visit some countries and destinations more than once, especially when you are in more than one of the printing, signage or packaging industries.
Pack lightly, as you will only spend a couple of days at each destination – with the exception of drupa and interpack which are longer than five days (maybe a send to hotel service might help here to lighten your actual travel pack). Do not forget to start training your sleep habits – best is to acquire an old airline seat and start sleeping in it. It will save you much hassle in the first half of 2021 which you will be spending alternatively on planes and in hotels.
By now you should already be starting on your visa applications and hotel bookings. Please also try to plan in some extra time at locations due to the fact that if and when SARS-CoV-2 strikes in your area or the area you are in at a certain time, you might have to spend some time in quarantine (usually 14 days). Inform your family that you will not be available in the first half of 2021 due to visiting trade shows and business comes first. Make arrangements for any eventuality for every country you plan to visit as well as for your home…
Then comes the big task: Make arrangements to visit your preferred suppliers as well as those on your possible procurement provider list. You should be scheduling appointments with respective representatives well in advance as when your competition does the same, dates and times will be scarce. Remember to make sure you know the names and positions of the representatives. Why this?
Suppliers and manufacturing
With so many trade shows in all the corners of the globe, manufacturers will carefully look as to when and where they exhibit. Sure, the innovation cycle has been slightly disrupted by the three big ones – fespa, interpack and drupa – having postponed to 2021. However, they will be exhibiting their newest solutions, not only in Düsseldorf.
As much as you might get stressed about your travel preparations, so do the manufacturers, distributors and every other participant. While you have the comfort to travel light, restricting your baggage to one suitcase, the manufacturers, i.e. the exhibitors do not. They have to take with them their exhibits, in most cases big and heavy machinery that takes weeks to ship to the destination. And booth space costs money, big money at exhibitions. So all these expenditures are being done, so that you, the trade show visitor can conveniently see and experience the offerings that already have been introduced to you virtually. In addition, as they want to keep you fully informed, booth personnel needs to get trained so that they can answer all your questions.
way3 copySorry, but as you can already see, your favourite sales person, your normal contacts will not be at each show as several of them overlap – and no one has yet managed to realise “beaming” which would be a great advancement in terms of a person being able to be in more than one location at once. Therefore, do not forget to get the local contacts in order to make appointments.
Can you expect to see a lot of equipment at each location? Well, for sure. The press and finishing device manufacturers, all companies that exhibit at trade shows had 2020 kind of off. Yes, they sold some equipment, innovated, found new and compelling ways to interact with you, managed to invent new sales channels, entertained you in a multitude of webinars, took care of you and your orders, serviced and maintained your equipment, taught you in many webinars how to use your equipment, troubleshoot and even helped you and took care of you and your worries. They received your trust and rightly so. So what has prevented them in 2020 to make copies of their new machines, build them and ship them at high costs to each location of a trade show? And then even pay for a huge booth space, installations/running of machinery at the show and personnel to entertain you at the show – both of which is a considerable expenditure by any exhibiting company so that you can adorn the new developments and experience them.
In the light of the significant expenditures manufacturers have to endure, it is not too much to expect and ask from visitors to visit each and every trade show in 2021.
By visiting all the trade shows on offer in the first half of 2021 you will get a fully comprehensive overview of the offerings and can look for the most fitting solution for your business – apart from touring the globe.
Within all this planning, keep yourself informed about the laws, especially in your travel countries as to physical distancing, new rules at the exhibitions and possible delays as well as quarantine regulations.
See, it is not so difficult to travel the world in 2021 and when you plan well ahead, it should not be stressful either. The normality of the trade show craze will come back (provided we do not see a second or third wave of Covid-19).
Let’s start planning the first half of 2021 and not forget to add the pinch of salt to it.
Please let us know at how many and which of these trade shows we can expect to meet you in person…


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