Trade shows forced to respond to changing market

The after-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic allied to a shift in the way companies do business has brought about big changes with some of the key global trade events scheduled for this year.

After almost four years, EFTTEX – the European Fishing Tackle Trade Exhibition – will return this June, in the beautiful setting of Budapest, Hungary.

Meanwhile, after last year’s returning but quiet International Fly Tackle Dealer (IFTD) show in Salt Lake City, the organising team have reimagined what a trade show and industry gathering should look like for late September.

At the same time, aware of demand from fly tackle dealers on the east coast of the USA, the largest sportfishing show in the world ­– ICAST – has been courting fly fishing brands and suppliers to its Orlando, Florida event in July.

For EFTTEX, which had to switch to a Digital New Product Showcase format late in the day in 2022, it is running an in-person product showcase alongside the trade event itself.

Crucially, though, those launching new products can participate in the showcased without having a stand at EFTTEX itself. Although they won’t be allowed to bring any physical products to subsequent meetings.

It is also opening up the event to what it calls ’non-core’ businesses in a specialist area. These might include logistics, IT, online marketing or packaging suppliers, for example.

EFTTEX general manager Dr Zoltan Kekkoi said: “It is a great challenge to take on an exhibition with such a long and colourful history. The traditions such as the Best New Product Showcase and Gala dinner need to be honoured and retained but there is also an expectation among exhibitors that EFTTEX 2023 should be upgraded to a new level.”

The American Fly Fishing Trade Association’s show in late September, meanwhile, has a new look and a new name.

The AFFTA Confluence will reflect all of the various requirements of the fly fishing industry, both inside and outside the Salt Palace Convention Centre.

A change in days to a midweek show is designed to allow retailers to attend more easily, while open-air celebrations will include food, drink, live music and product demonstration as well as those important networking opportunities.

It will have focus on bringing buyers and the media together with manufacturers even before the event starts to maximise time while there.

Event director Kenneth Andres: “The event will have a different feel and cadence. All of which are a result to listening to what the fly fishing community wanted from their trade event.”

When ICAST returns to Orlando in mid-July, there will also be an enhanced focus on fly fishing, with more categories for this in its New Product Showcase and more opportunities to engage with this sector.

Blake Swango, the American Sportfishing Association’s vice-president of trade show and membership, explained: “Our goal is to represent the entire recreational fishing community and fly fishing plays a key role in reaching a specific audience of anglers. Most issues related to access, clean water and abundant fisheries overlap both conventional and fly fishing.”