“What has been notable about this year’s IFTF registrations is that Dutch companies are a bit more reserved than the foreign ones are,” says Dick van Raamsdonk of HPP Exhibitions, organizer of the show. This year’s edition is the first to occur in two years, as last year’s event had to be canceled due to the pandemic. Next week, on November 3-5, the International Floriculture and Horticulture Trade Fair will open its doors again in Vijfhuizen, The Netherlands. Van Raamsdonk shares more on what this year’s event will look like.
Dick van Raamsdonk at the IFTF 2018
More registrations than previous years
While it may not be possible to fully predict what the first IFTF since the pandemic is going to be like in practice, the number of registrations is giving a very positive prospect. “We are getting more registrations than in previous years, many of which are from foreign countries. It is actually surprising that especially Dutch companies are more hesitant to exhibit this year. Quite a few have skipped this year, as they are not entirely sure what it is going to look like, and are waiting until next year’s event. Foreign companies, on the other hand, are very eager to exhibit. We also have a great number of international visitors attending, even from South America, Africa, and the Middle East, for example.” Van Raamsdonk mentions that the high registration number might be a consequence of this being the first year that registering in advance is required. “Nonetheless, the numbers are high, which is very promising. Size-wise, we will be at about two-thirds of the size we used to be, which is a good amount of space in which more than 150 companies will be exhibiting.”
Why not a virtual IFTF?
These last years, everyone has become more and more adapted to online meetings. Yet an online version of the IFTF was never an option, explains Van Raamsdonk. “A physical event like this is still the only proper way to meet colleagues and customers in our industry. Especially when dealing with flowers, it is important to see the products in person and to be able to touch and smell them. Therefore, while many people have asked, an online IFTF would have never been close to the experience of a physical edition.” There might actually be an advantage to having the event held physically again, after last year’s cancellation. “Normally, the IFTF attendees meet annually, and now they didn’t get the opportunity to present their novelties last year. Therefore, I think that will make this year’s event even more interesting, as there will be even more to show each other.”
“You can’t keep waiting”
“We already decided in July that we wanted to make the IFTF happen again, and make it the best possible event we can under the circumstances,” says Van Raamsdonk. “This is our new normal and we have to adapt, you can’t keep waiting forever.” Recently, many of the travel restrictions have become more lenient, meaning that more countries are able to travel to The Netherlands. “Upon arrival, everyone will have to follow the measurements and we have a zero-tolerance policy, as it is important to keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible.” All attendees will need either proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test in order to get access to the building. Once inside, social distancing and masks are not required, according to the current Dutch regulations. “When remaining in line with the restrictions, everyone is very welcome to attend, and we think that the rest of the event will be as in the old days.”
For more information:
International Floriculture Trade Fair