Allegrini 2018

Trade fairs in crisis and sector turnover down -70%. Veronafiere and Vinitaly plans

Mantovani: “We are not excluding partnerships like Asia. Meanwhile, Fiere di Parma and we have a project with Pitti: wine&food and fashion"
Maurizio Danese, president and Giovanni Mantovani, CEO of VeronaFiere

The Italian fairs sector has been one of the most damaged by the Covid-19 crisis. The sector invoices 1 billion euros a year directly (not calculating all the direct and indirect revenues, which is over 10 times more). So far, in 2020, the loss is down -70% to -80%. It is normal, then, that in this period there are numerous rumors of possible acquisitions, mergers, new aggregating poles or partnerships among the main trade fair players. “Like everyone else, we are not sitting on our hands; we are all evaluating every possibility, so when something concrete comes up, we can talk about it with our shareholders”, said Maurizio Danese, president of VeronaFiere and AEFI, the Italian Fairs Association. Danese, together with Giovanni Mantovani, CEO of Veronafiere, today illustrated the Fair in the near future, which besides being one of the biggest in Italy is also the top for wine, together with the Vinitaly world. “The government will release some funds in October”, explained Danese, but not very much: 63 million euros in grants, “which we still don't know how to use”, and 300 million euros in loans. However, it is fundamental to start over again.
“Veronafiere is starting over in the next few months. On September 30th, a conference with Architect Stefano Boeri, Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs, Manlio Di Stefano (who will launch Marmomac, digital and physical), and Fiera Cavalli, will bring us to the Wine2Wine Exhibition (Wine2Wine Forum and Opera Wine). This will be the first test run for integrating an event of physical presence, which is, and will remain, the main way of doing business, and digital tools. We have been investing in digital for a long time, before the Covid-19, which will become increasingly essential”.
As Giovanni Mantovani already explained recently in an exclusive interview with WineNews, the Wine2Wine Exhibition will begin on November 21st, starting with an international conference that will examine all the immediate and long-term changes that the wine market will have to face. Then, it will be Opera Wine’s turn - the great wine tasting, organized together with the cult US magazine, Wine Spectator, which has selected the 100 most symbolic Italian wineries. November 22nd, instead, will be dedicated to the public, and participating wineries at the expo will be able to make direct sales. On November 23rd and 24th they will return to a business to business event, and a forum that will discuss various topics related to the wine market, as well as to international buyers returning to Verona. “We are expecting 300 from the Shengen Area, which we and ICE invited, and we are also working on bringing professionals from markets such as the USA, Japan and China, through the "Green Channels" the Government has provided. There will also be a large digital part. We will have an excellent connection with the US market. There will be three events -three major wine tastings simultaneously in Washington, at the Italian Embassy, ​​in New York, through one of our partners, and in Chicago, at the Italian-American Chamber of Commerce. There will be tastings in Canada, and in Asia, in connection with the Tokyo Embassy, ​​with buyers and market opinion leaders. And, in Asia there will be a continuous dialogue with Wine2Asia (November 9th – 11th, ed.), at the closing of the event that will mark the debut of our event in China, together with our local partner Pacco Communication Group. It is partnerships, not excluding further innovations in the global structure of Italian Fairs, which could be one of the lines to develop for Veronafiere, especially for wine.
“The road show in China has just ended and the great participation in Wine2Asia tells us that our credibility as a Fair, and partnerships with local players, pays off. This is why I cannot exclude similar strategies on other markets, like North America, and so on, to grow the Vinitaly brand. On the Italian level, we have already begun, as VPE, our subsidiary with Parma Fairs has recently invested in Bellavita Expo, looking towards foreign markets, but not only. I can now announce a new initiative. In 2021, there will be a part dedicated to wine&food that Parma and we will manage together. It is the Pitti Fashion events in Florence, with activities that will also be the driving force for Vinitaly and Cibus. This is very important on the practical side, because it sends a message of our system of excellence”.
So, many new initiatives are on the way, even in this period of uncertainty that requires great flexibility, which rewards solid organizations, such as Veronafiere. Its top management explained that over the last few months it has implemented safety measures, thanks to the trust from the many leading credit institutions that have supported the company's liquidity, and thanks to all its employees. Now they are looking to the future with confidence. “Our industrial plan has been blocked. The capital increase, which had been approved by the Board of Directors in February 2020, did not come about because the scenario changed, and we needed a new economic evaluation, which in any case will happen very soon. I am convinced that everything will proceed as planned”, added the president, Maurizio Danese.

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