Following the announcement of the cancellation of EFTTEX for the second year running, the head of the show organiser has not ruled out a similar occurrence in 2022.
Olivier Portrat, CEO of EFTTA, told Angling International in an exclusive interview that there are ‘serious doubts’ about the show going ahead in Prague next year. He said: “I am not sure it will be possible. Between now and then there are so many things that can still go wrong.
“In Spring people laughed at me when I said it could take two to three years to get over the COVID-19 pandemic. The vaccine roll-out across Europe has not gone to plan.”
To the surprise of no one, Portrat announced the cancellation of this year’s EFTTEX in a press release issued on Monday. He said: “When I spoke to 80% of the full members last year I was hopeful of staging EFTTEX because around November there was a positive feeling, but with vaccinations struggling across the region the situation has changed.
“We were faced with a show where international exhibitors would not be able to travel – 27 manufacturers from China alone were due to attend – with others from Asian countries like Indonesia and Malaysia. The Board also felt that many retailers would be missing because it is not easy to travel any more.
“We were faced with the prospect of running a poor show or cancelling it altogether and the Board was unanimous in its feeling that calling off the event was the best solution. We did not want to put on a poor show.”
The decision of the EFTTA Board to offer a 75% refund to exhibitors was a surprise move. Portrat said: “The refund is very generous. Normally in similar circumstances you would expect 30% to 35%. EFTTA was not obliged to pay back anything at all, but we were aware that course of action would have upset a lot of our membership.
“We have agreed on a 75% payment, with the other 25% deduced from the price of a booth at the next EFTTEX shows.”
Portrat admitted that paying a refund to exhibitors would exacerbate an already precarious financial position for EFTTA. In June last year he told Angling International that EFTTA faced a ‘battle for its survival’ and that ‘severe’ cost-cutting was needed. He said: “Cancelling the show and its cost implications has hit us hard and puts us in further financial trouble.”
He added that big players within the organisation will be helping EFTTA with these added demands on its balance sheet.
The cancellation of EFTTEX comes against a backdrop of the use of new technology and video conferencing which has come to the fore because of restrictions imposed across the globe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Portrat said: “The virus has changed everything and people are communicating differently.”
Portrat is keen to point out that while EFTTEX has been hitting the headlines, EFTTA’s role as a lobbying body should not be forgotten. “We are not just a show organiser. Our main purpose is to protect the fishing tackle industry at EU Parliament level and our work is more important than ever before. The EU is now rightly waging war against plastic waste and other issues like lead and baits. EFTTA needs to be involved in those conversations.”
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