Birmingham, England: Due to mounting pressure from the global Coronavirus pandemic, the Grounds Management Association (GMA) has taken the decision to move SALTEX (Sports Amenities Landscaping Trade Exhibition) to late next year.
Instead of proceeding with its planned Spring dates of March 3-4, organisers have confirmed the event will now go ahead on November 3-4, 2021.
A statement from the organisers said: “The GMA has been strategically planning for every eventuality to ensure the exhibition is a bio-secure event, in partnership with the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) and internationally recognised professional events bodies.
“However, on-going Government restrictions and local and national lockdowns, as well as rising cases of Coronavirus, have highlighted the immediate challenges to stage a successful event in March. This decision has factored in recent analysis from both exhibitor and visitor surveys, as well as discussions with relevant parties.”
Organisers have been re-negotiating with the NEC, returning the exhibition to its original Autumn dateline.
When visitors were asked on date preferences to attend a trade event, November was the first option – followed by October and September. Exhibitors also echoed this, with 64% stating a preference to attend SALTEX in November 2021 due to latest news and restrictions.
In addition, latest visitor research showed that an overwhelming majority (80%) stated that attending an indoor trade show was their number one preference.
In more usual circumstances, SALTEX brings over 9,000 visitors across two days with about 400 brands exhibiting. Visitor attendance at the NEC has significantly grown year-on-year. The next show will be its 75th anniversary marking the long-standing contribution to the grounds sector.
Geoff Webb, CEO at the GMA, said: “As hard as this decision was to make, we knew it was important to act quickly and responsibly so we can begin looking to the future and stage a successful event once restrictions ease again. We have recently seen confidence eroding despite early optimism.
“Our recent surveys have given us excellent insight from both exhibitors and visitors, giving us evidence that reflects current circumstances so we can continue planning an event that best reflects the turf care sector’s requirements.
“The majority of our respondents expressed high confidence levels in attending indoor trade shows and we can see that there is still a huge appetite going forward. We are already looking ahead to what is required for what will be a milestone edition of SALTEX in November 2021.”
Exhibitors have the option to carry over their March 2021 booking to the November show at a preferential rate and retain their stand location. There is also the added option to secure a two-year SALTEX loyalty deal for those transferring their booking (for November 2021 and 2022), with improved benefits for GMA Corporate Plus members.
Alternatively, exhibitors due to showcase in March 2021 can apply for a full refund in writing. The GMA’s events team has contacted all exhibitors personally to discuss preferences, as well as payment terms and plans.
Webb said: “Despite the circumstances, and a future where Covid will always be present, we are really touched by the number of exhibitors that have expressed that they are on this journey with us and wish to be part of SALTEX at the next possible opportunity. We are determined to help contribute to the growth – and celebrate the sector – albeit at a later date in 2021.”
Luke Perry, Director of SALTEX and Events for the GMA, added: “We have worked hard to reflect changing situations. We intend to maintain this regular, frequent communication going forward whilst continuing to analyse how our sector feels about events in general.”