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Chillventa buoyant despite lingering covid effects

GERMANY: The organiser of the first Chillventa exhibition for four years is predicting a visitor attendance of around 28,000 for this year’s event which ends today.

An attendance figure of 28,000 would represent a 21% drop on the record figure set at the last show in 2018. This combined with the reduced number of exhibitors – down 17% from 1,019 in 2018 to 844 this year – would be the lowest figure since the very first Chillventa in 2008.

However, those numbers, a reflection of the state of an exhibition industry hard hit by the covid pandemic, were not matched by the mood on the floor of the show. There was a distinct “glad to be back” feeling amongst both exhibitors and visitors keen to shake hands again with a live event.

In that respect, this year’s show had similarities with the first Chillventa in 2008 in more than just figures. In 2008, the industry had taken a bold step to go it alone after disagreements and a protracted split from the owners of the former IKK show. There was a nervousness as to whether the new event would be a success and a number of companies chose no to exhibit as a result.

Although for very different reasons, there was a similar initial fear this year that the event might not be able to recapture its former magic. As in 2008, those concerns were dispelled on the first day.

Probably benefitting from being later in the year and that bit further removed from covid lockdowns, Chillventa has already performed better than two of its major international competitors this year. The annual USA show, AHR Expo, and Mostra Convegno in Italy both saw much more significant downturns in numbers of both exhibitors and visitors.

While the Chillventa organiser attributes the covid pandemic as a major reason for the reduction in numbers, the war in Ukraine has also had a significant effect, it says. There was a downturn in the number of exhibitors from south east Asia and China, and clear evidence on the show floor of a significant lack of visitors from those regions as well.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, there were no companies from Russia or Belarus amongst the Chillventa exhibitors this year and only two from Ukraine – industrial refrigeration equipment company RMC and the Ukraine refrigeration association.

Whatever the final outcome, it is obvious that the refrigeration and air conditioning industry has not fallen out of love with exhibitions and the organiser, as well as the industry, can look forward to increased numbers at the next Chillventa which will take place from 8 to 10 October 2024.

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