As you may now have read, the organisers of the FIT Show have taken the difficult decision to move the 2020 show to 2021. In their statement to the press they said:
The announcement follows continuing unprecedented political and economic uncertainty, which, whilst recently becoming more positive, has driven the decision to take FIT Show back to its most successful format.
There is no doubting that numerous headwinds were making things difficult to deliver a successful 2020 show. Domestic politics being one of them. But there were other factors at play too. The decision to move to 2021 won’t have been easy to make, but was the correct one at the right time.
Once every two years
Announced just before the 2019 show that the exhibition would become an annual event, you could sense that the industry was thrown a curve ball. The assumption was it would be every two years, and would avoid Fensterbau and other international events that weren’t held on odd-numbered years. The planned show in 2020 would have coincided with Fensterbau in February and Glasstec in October.
You can assume then that there would have been a number of companies who chose to exhibit at the 2019 show that did so because they thought there would be no 2020 show.
If you read the press release from the FIT Show you can tell that this has hit home: “We have listened to the many active voices in the FIT Show community and will return the event to its most popular frequency, and everything that has made it a success. It is with huge disappointment, and with a genuine desire to preserve the long-term success of FIT Show for the entire industry, that we have made this decision.”
Obviously external circumstances played a major role in this decision, but the industry and its voice did too. At the end of the day, this is the most important voice.
External conditions beyond control
You cannot really say 2019 was a stable year. The first phase of Brexit was supposed to have been concluded by the end of March. It was hoped that we wouldn’t have been talking about that come the 2019 show. As it was, it was delayed to June, then October. Then we had a General Election at the end of the year. Theresa May resigned as PM, Boris Johnson took over and was unable to take the UK out of the EU by the end of October. We’ll probably never see a year like it for a very long time.
Unfortunately, it was also the recipe for stifling business activity. It was obvious companies were holding on to their money and putting off spending decisions, such as exhibitions. Business hates nothing more than uncertainty. So even though the 2019 election results were very clear, there has been a major hangover from what was a dank year last year. We have seen that just by the sheer number of companies who have gone into liquidation or administration.
But here’s another angle and one thats only become apparent in the last few days. There were quite a number of Chinese companies due to exhibit this year. As you may have seen in the news there is a deadly new coronavirus that emerged in China and is beginning to spread around the world. The last time that happened was SARS and MERS, and in those instances travel restrictions were placed upon people and companies from China to try limit the spread. Its highly likely the same would happen again, so there would have been a chance those Chinese companies due to exhibit would have had to cancel.
The silver lining
I have been assured that the FIT Show are going to remain active throughout this year, which I think is very much a good thing. The positive to take from this is that the organisers now have 16 months in which to build a fantastic showcase of UK fenestration in May 2021. There is much more time now in which to do so. Time to sit down with the major companies of the sector and bring them on board for the 2021 show. Time to listen to exhibitors and visitors to put together a show everyone will want to be part of and visit. There is a chance to build what could be the very best show yet.
So whilst the decision to move to 2021 will not have been easy in many respects, the way to look at this is as an opportunity to put together a show worthy of an industry thats worth nearly as much as the UK music industry.
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