The world’s largest trade fair returns after a two-year hiatus
Over the last two years, the COVID 19 Pandemic has been an inescapable topic. Aside from all the aspects of the industry that were affected by it, the ones who have taken the hardest hits have been the trade shows, especially the InterTabac trade show, which had to cancel the in-person event two years in a row.
The first-ever InterTabac trade show was held on the 19th of August in 1978. At that time, the exhibition space measured 4,000 square meters, and 78 exhibitors were present. During the two days that the InterTabac took place, 1,750 visitors were recorded. Since then, the trade show has been held annually in Dortmund, except in 1986, when the then Inter-tabac was held in Hannover, and during the Covid pandemic, when the fair had to be canceled.
Up until 2019, the last time it was held, the trade show had grown to ten times its original size, 40,000 square meters. A similar growth was recorded for the exhibitors and visitors, increasing to 520 and 13,800 respectively.
During these two years, when no trade shows were held, some questioned the relevance of trade shows in modern times. Sabrine Loos, CEO of the Westfalenhallen Group, tells us that “after more than two years of COVID, we all feel one thing very clearly: people want to spend their free time again. Visitors, exhibitors, and partners repeat this to us in the numerous discussions we had. In the future, the focus will continue to be on the physical trade fair or event experience – live and on-site. Because even if virtual events were able to generate interesting contacts during the pandemic, the live experience remains an indispensable part of the events industry. However, for a look into the future, it is also worth taking a quick look back. Before COVID, 212 million euros were spent annually by visitors and exhibitors at trade fairs and events in Dortmund. Almost 200,000 overnight stays in the city are attributable to the business of the Westfalenhallen group of companies. Around 2,200 jobs in Dortmund depend on the Westfalenhallen, as the last ifo-study showed. The restart of the InterTabac is already underlining that people will be attending events of all kinds again.”
Now that things seem to slowly get back to normal, the InterTabac and the InterSupply, the world’s largest trade fairs for tobacco products and smoking accessories, are set to return this September, from the 15 – 17, at the Westfalenhallen in Dortmund, Germany. The dates on which the trade show is held are one of the more noticeable changes. “By postponing the trade fair duo InterTabac and InterSupply by one day, we are responding to a request from the industry, especially cigar manufacturers, who wanted more working days in the trade fair program. It is also advantageous for our international trade fair participants and exhibitors to travel back on a Saturday, as there are usually better flights and other travel connections to be found then,” says Sabine Loos.
“We are also accompanying the two trade fairs for the first time on our ‘Business Insights’ internet platform,” continues Ms. Loos and adds, “it offers current company information, product innovations and trends, industry insights, lectures, and specialist podcasts. Furthermore, Business Insights offers a comprehensive knowledge archive with international studies and webinars, and news on innovative developments or legal adjustments in the tobacco industry. Here, the stakeholders from tobacco products, smoking accessories, and manufacturing have their fingers on the pulse all year round, even beyond InterTabac and InterSupply. This addition to the physical trade fair duo in many areas of presentation, networking, and information and knowledge transfer is unique in the industry. And last but not least, we are once again offering trade visitors an interesting supporting program on-site, which picks up on the trend topics of ‘Business Insights,’ continues them, and enables personal exchange on them. So we offer a finely tuned blend of the new with the tried and tested.”
Lastly, when asked about the expectations for this year, Ms. Loos concludes: “First of all, we are very pleased that InterTabac can and will take place again. We have a good booking situation, and the industry is behind us. We are currently working at full speed to ensure that the next InterTabac will again be an absolute highlight in the industry year. And we are very confident that we will succeed. Accordingly, we expect to see many familiar faces again, that we will have many good discussions on-site and that we will experience an all-around successful InterTabac.”