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Angling shows reveal their revised formats as second year of COVID restrictions begins

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With circumstances almost impossible to predict, event organisers around the world are taking a number of different approaches.

The decision of the organisers of Japan’s two main fishing tackle shows to cancel their events, which were set to take place in the first two months of next year, has cast a shadow over events taking place during the same period. The companies behind the Osaka show and the Japanese Fishing Festival cited fears of a second spike in the Coronavirus numbers across Asia as the reason for their decision. The pandemic has already wrought havoc in the exhibition industry across the globe with the tackle trade not immune to wholesale cancellations and postponements. With the pandemic showing no signs of abating, a question mark hangs over events in 2021. Most organisers spoken to by Angling International were confident that their event would go ahead, although many privately accepted that the situation was out of their control.

China Fish was the first fishing trade show casualty of the Coronavirus at the beginning of this year when it was cancelled just weeks before it was due to celebrate its 35th anniversary. No details have emerged about next year’s event as exhibitions have yet to get the all-clear from the Chinese Government to recommence.

The event that kicks off the show season each year is traditionally the Clermont Ferrand freshwater show in France (Carrefour National Pêche et Loisirs) and it is currently set to ahead in 2021 from January 12th to 14th although in a very different guise. Kevin Tillerot, a spokesman for the show organiser, Centre France Evénements, said: “As with many other countries, the situation regarding exhibitions in France is not good, not least the limit of 5,000 visitors in the same area at the same time. We do not know how long it will take until the situation is back to normal, but we have restarted some smaller exhibitions with no problems so are confident about the future.

“We have changed the lay-out of the show to make it easier for visitors and are working closely with the Government and the union of the events industry to run it in the best possible way. Companies are concerned about the future and that is totally normal because they invest a lot in exhibitions. There is a long list of costs. To help them, our company has decided to refund all the costs that companies advance to us in the event of a cancellation or postponement of the show. We are making as much effort as we can to help our customers.”

Carp Den Bosch, formerly Carp Zwolle, was due to move to a new venue this year before the event – due to take place at the end of January – was cancelled by founder and organiser Mick Paine. He said: “With an ever-changing situation I did not feel it was fair to keep people waiting so decided to cancel next year’s show. I would never have forgiven myself if someone had caught COVID-19 as a result of attending the show. Hopefully we can bounce back in spectacular fashion in 2022.”

The Taiwan International Fisheries and Seafood Show, which was due to take place this month, has been rescheduled as a domestic event and will go ahead from December 3rd to 5th. For the first time last year, the show opened its doors to representatives of the recreational fishing tackle industry and the organiser was expecting more visitors from the sector this time around. International companies will still be able to make contact with suppliers online during the show as the organiser will be offering a virtual format of the event.

France’s biggest sea fishing show – Salon de la Pêche en Mer – is still planned to go ahead from February 12th to 14th, according to Carol Gohell, Project Manager for the event. She told Angling International: “Events are allowed in France, and in Nantes we have authorisation for a maximum of 5,000 people at the show at any one time. We have to ensure the safety of visitors and will be respecting the guidelines laid down by the Government.
We are hopeful of emulating the success of last year’s event. We have had good feedback from exhibitors who realise it is an important event for them to be involved in, especially when you bear in mind the healthy state of the fishing market at the moment.”

It is also all systems go for Hungary’s major fishing and hunting show, FeHoVa, scheduled for February 2021. Show representative Fruzsi Totth said that, while Hungary’s borders are closed to tourists, they are open to businessmen and women subject to a number of requirements. “We are non-stop in our monitoring of the COVID-19 virus as well as in our preparations for the show, which will take place between February 11th and 14th. We have plenty of exhibitors for next year’s event – particularly hunting companies. That is par for the course at this stage of the year because the deadline for fishing businesses to book does not expire until January next year.

“I think COVID-19 has affected the appetite for shows because people are more wary about being in a crowd. Normally at FeHoVa we get more than 50,000 visitors. I believe as a result of COVID-19 that will decrease a little.” To help ease those fears, the Hungexpo venue has written a handbook with a comprehensive rundown of ‘dos and don’ts’ and the health and safety services it offers attendees.