** Following the publication of the story below, the FIT Show announced September’s event has been postponed to May, 2022. Click here for the full story **
FIT Show has reinforced its commitment to delivering a ‘safe and successful’ event, following Smart Ready’s withdrawal from September’s exhibition on ‘safe-guarding’ grounds among others.
In a statement, Fit Show event director, Nickie West (pictured above, left), said she was ‘saddened’ by Smart Ready’s departure “at such a late stage in the campaign” but looked forward to welcoming the smart tech company back to FIT in the future.
Nickie said: “As a show, we continue to navigate uncertain waters due to the ongoing and far-reaching impact of Covid-19. We are incredibly grateful to the many brands who remain committed to creating a visit-worthy exhibition for the sector, despite these challenges and unavoidable uncertainty…
“We are monitoring all factors hourly. We, of course, have no way of predicting how the current Covid restrictions will evolve between now and our show at the end of September, including current border restrictions. But we are working closely with the NEC, our industry associations and officials to monitor and respond accordingly.”
Smart Ready, which was due to exhibit alongside SAC Hardware, has deemed this year’s FIT Show as “too high risk from a commercial and a safe-guarding perspective”, describing its withdrawal from the event as the “sensible and responsible” thing to do.
In a statement explaining the decision, Smart Ready’s Giovanni Laporta (pictured above, right) said: “The first thing I want to say is our brands are 100% passionate about FIT. Personally, I love the show because it plays one of the most important roles in our industry to showcase innovation person-to-person, something my brands are all about…
“However, hand on heart, I believe life at the moment is just too uncertain and September, less than two months away, is too high-risk from a commercial and a safe-guarding perspective. Albeit and understandably people are doing everything they can to ignore the obvious, there is a third wave on its way with whatever restrictions come with that third wave. The government changes what is says on a daily basis… The safe-guarding of my team comes as high priority as standard. As an MD, it’s the sensible and responsible decision for me to take.”
Giovanni also acknowledged that the industry is dealing with “more pressing matters like the fragility of the supply chain”, adding “it just doesn’t sit right with me spending circa a quarter of a million pounds on what is essentially marketing and education, when some companies are struggling on the day-to-day operations”.
Giovanni said: “I am sure this getting back to a ‘new normal’ will happen with time, resilience, and even more intelligent science. However, for us, September 2021 is too early.”
Despite Giovanni’s reservations, Nickie said the show’s organisers continue to receive enquiries from brands keen to exhibit, with pre-registration visitor figures “a strong indicator of the appetite for face-to-face connection”.
She added: “As is the way of the world at the moment, FIT Show 2021 will undoubtedly look and feel different to our previous outings. But we are still very much committed to delivering a safe and successful live experience for our community. We thank everyone who has continued to support us through the most challenging of circumstances. We will continue to communicate all developments via our own channels and our industry media.”