The InterTabac and InterSupply trade fairs planned for 18 to 20 September 2020 will not be held in their customary formats, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was taken by agreement between the organizer, Messe Dortmund GmbH, and the partner associations representing the tobacco industry, tobacco product wholesalers, and retailers. The parties involved have agreed to work on an alternative format to take place in autumn/fall 2020. Further details will be presented shortly.
So, for 2020, both cigar main events won’t happen, at least in their traditional format. The announcement that also the PCA won’t be held was given in mid-May.
The key driver behind the decision has been the ongoing situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and the associated potential health impact on exhibitors and visitors. Global travel restrictions, which are having sustained consequences on the planning and staging of international trade fairs such as InterTabac and InterSupply, have also been a contributory factor. “Even though there have been signs of relaxation in Germany in recent weeks regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, and local authorities have again made it possible to hold trade fairs with limited attendance while observing appropriate hygiene measures, we as organizers continue to pay particular attention to our responsibility to protect the health of everyone involved”, explained Sabine Loos, Managing Director of Westfalenhallen Unternehmensgruppe GmbH, the parent company of organizer Messe Dortmund GmbH. “As a result, working closely with our partner associations, we have decided to jointly develop a new concept for this autumn, and to present it in detail shortly.”
Progress of pandemic situation across the world is fast-moving and cannot currently be predicted. It would, therefore, be unreasonable to hold international trade fairs such as InterTabac and InterSupply in their present form this year: “Our special responsibility and duty of care for the health of the several hundred exhibitors and thousands of visitors from 47 countries whom we welcome to Dortmund each year are things we take very seriously indeed. We, therefore, want to offer a new format this year that takes account of necessary developments such as the travel restrictions that continue to apply,” she continued. Steffen Kahnt, Managing Director of BTWE, the tobacco retailers’ association, added, “The Corona pandemic continues to present us with special challenges, especially concerning interaction across the entire industry. InterTabac and InterSupply have always been the ideal platforms here because face-to-face contact between individuals continues to be the measure of all things,” he continued. “It is, therefore, good news that specialist retailers are to be given a new platform in the near future which will help keep this interaction going with the aid of new, fresh ideas even under these challenging conditions. We are pleased to be able to contribute as an association, and develop a new format together.”
An exhibitor survey conducted in recent days shows that this idea strikes a perfect chord with everyone involved. The survey showed that the majority of participants did not consider it appropriate to hold InterTabac and InterSupply in its current form in September due to the restrained willingness of international visitors to travel. Given this feedback from the industry, holding InterTabac and InterSupply in their customary form was not something that could reasonably be expected of the organizer, Messe Dortmund, or of exhibitors, visitors, or others involved in the fairs. For this reason, the decision has been taken to stage the new format in autumn/fall 2020.
“Looking to the future, the dialogue with industry representatives has also resulted in changing the Friday-to-Sunday sequence to a Thursday-to-Saturday sequence once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed”, explained Sabine Loos. “As we see it, this meets the needs of international exhibitors and visitors spot-on.” By the way: the next regular formats of InterTabac and InterSupply are postponed until 16 to18 September 2021 – once again, of course, at Messe Dortmund.