GrootGroenPlus 2020, which will be held from 30 September to 2 October, will not offer a physical platform, but a digital platform. The registrations and advance payments will be transferred to the physical edition that will take place on 6 - 8 October 2021. This way, participants do not have to pay for the expansive digital participation in 2020.
"The situation regarding Covid-19 creates uncertainty and vagueness, especially when it comes to trade fairs. No one has a crystal ball. And experts also do not always agree. Even though we wanted to postpone making our decision to 1 September, we feel that by now, we have enough information and insight to come to a founded conclusion", the organization says.
As GrootGroenPlus, they have said from the start that we do not want to take a gamble when it comes to the health of all those who are involved with the trade fair. "When the prospects appeared to become more positive, we decided to continue working on a physical and digital trade fair. We were able to do this, thanks to the involvement of our participants and suppliers."
They cannot rule out the possibility that Covid-19 will influence participation in and visits to trade fairs in the coming years. "This year, the physical edition of the trade fair was partly dependent on virus outbreaks here, in our region, in the area where our suppliers,
participants, and visitors are located. In short: the international (tree nursery) world. Another factor was getting the necessary permits. For that, we had to rely on the government and all applicable protocols. We have taken sufficient time to process all of this, and therefore, we know that we would have been ready for it. Covid-19 and the safety
require adjustments and flexibility, and we do not see any problems there."
However, they do see a problem with the recent measure that new infections can lead to a closure of a maximum of 14 days. "This might lead to problems during the set up and the trade fair days. Even though we assume that everyone will adhere to the rules, we are still
talking about a lot of people - and a lot of businesses and volunteer organisations. We have reached the conclusion that it would not be responsible to take on these kinds of uninsurable risks with money provided by our industry. Besides; the basic rules in most countries are still the same; work from home as much as you can, avoid crowds."
The platform was also created to add value to commercial opportunities in the tree nursery industry. "The current corona crisis is a threat for our sales. The tree nursery is used to dealing with threats, and knows how to recover through its own resources. That was our motivation to do our utmost, and to employ a twin-track strategy. In the last few weeks, we all witnessed experts adjust their expectations concerning a second wave of corona cases - this will probably come much sooner than the fall of 2020."
This also made them question the desirability of a physical platform. "Further adjustment of our plans could also possibly put the characteristic atmosphere of GGP under pressure, which would mean that we would no longer be able to offer the quality we desire."
Widening the passageways, one-way-streets, splitting the crowd, time slots for visitors, additional shuttles, passing places, 100 seats, and supervisors could be fitted into the plan, according to protocol, for example by adjusting the accommodation. "We will bring this knowledge, expertise, and experience to the 31st edition in 2021, and to Groenbeurs Zundert, which will be hosted on 20 and 21 January, and which is open for registration right now."
However, the increased number of infections in their immediate surroundings and in the rest of the world, combined with the new measures, might potentially lead to problems with the setup, hesitation, and travel limitations for participants and visitors, which will require another limit on the number of allowed participants and visitors. "Of course, this also has an effect on budgets and looks."
They recently opened the registration form for visitors and press, to check the sentiment among visitors. "We could clearly see that the number of people that are sure they want to visit the trade fair is much lower than in other years. We can all guess the reasons for this, but let’s just say it will probably have to do with the uncertainty of the current situation. Disappointing trade fair results and a less than desirable look and feel might lead to less participants and visitors in the future. Even if we’re not looking at all the risks of a physical fair; this is also something we don’t want."
"Considering all the pros and cons of a physical trade fair, we have no other option but to conclude that we have to transfer all the registrations for this year to the edition of 6-8 October 2021. This year, we will offer a (free) wide digital platform as a service to all registrants. We are prepared for the 1.5-meter society, and we have a lot of options for a great digital program, which can be attended without limitations and hurdles."
"We announced this decision first to those who confided in us, and walked alongside us during the last few weeks - such as the 150 participants and 31 suppliers. After that, we informed everyone else involved. Our twintrack strategy and the double work we did allowed us, partly thanks to those partners, to postpone this decision for as long as possible. If the positive vibes of the beginning of this summer would have continued, we might have been putting in orders right now. We have to invest in 2020 anyway; and now we did just that in the physical trade fair of 2021, and the digital options of 2020."
In the next six weeks, they will provide you with more information, possibilities, and details regarding the digital trade fair days.