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Learning earlier this week that our industry's most popular show, Interclean Amsterdam, (moved from May to November thanks to the pandemic) is to become a virtual show only, made me feel quite miserable. Although it was absolutely the right decision for the organisers to have made, this is a huge blow for the industry. If it weren't for our sector's skills, services and products being in such high demand because of the pandemic, I would say that it will have a detrimental effect on the exhibitors' businesses, but as things stand it will be the show's owners and organisers who'll bear the brunt of the change, as well as those of us for whom attending the event is the highlight of the working year. And the good people of Amsterdam, of course.
I feel particularly sad for Rob den Hertog, who - along with Gerard Rijnbeek and before that, Jos van den Berg, has been 'the face' of the show in recent years, because this is the year Rob retires and however successful the virtual event will be, it won't be quite the same as meeting up in person. Rob - we wish you well!
John and I presented the concept of a virtual exhibition to the ISSA while at the Birmingham show well over a decade ago. The idea was that it wouldn't replace a show but would run alongside it, which would not only bring in extra revenue for the organisers, but would give the exhibitors a chance to display their wares to potential buyers who were not able to make it along to the main event. It had everything a live show has. The team liked what was on the CD but perhaps felt that everything was a bit too futuristic to want to take the idea forward. We never dreamt back then that virtual shows would become a necessity, rather than the icing on the cake. How times have changed! And no doubt I'm not the only one wondering whether we'll ever get back to the way we were.
There's more about Interclean below as well as a statement from Rob that I lifted from Twitter. In it Rob talks about his pride at the way our industry has coped with what's been thrown at us. I'm sure most of us will agree with everything he says.
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27th August 2020