VIV Europe 2010: Was it a good show or not? This question could be heard throughout the Jaarbeurs complex in Utrecht, the Netherlands last week. Many company representatives had mixed feelings.
After 2008's VIV Europe had failed to become a big success due to a one-off relocation to Moscow, Russia, the biennial international trade show returned to Utrecht.
Hopes were high that this year, the show would return to its former splendour and importance. Investments had been made, especially from the poultry side and almost every company had news to tell.
A volcano eruption in Iceland changed the picture and washed these high hopes down the drain. Due to ash particles in the air, no planes could leave or depart from Western Europe for a while, seriously affecting show attendance in Utrecht.
Visitor numbers were twice as high as the Moscow edition (almost 10,500) but stayed short of the last Utrecht edition in 2006, with 22,000 visitors, among which many global decision makers, making their ways to the Netherlands.
This time, especially visitors from the Americas, the Far East and Africa had to stay where they were – and those who did reach Utrecht either had travelled out early by coincidence, or had stories to tell of long, long journeys by car, bus or train.
In addition, many lectures and presentations had to be cancelled as those reading or presenting simply were not present.
In total 120 exhibitors could not make it to the show. Many Chinese booths remained empty; others simply only could send local representatives.
So, was it a good show or not? Exhibitors' first replies often included a desperate shaking of the head. The second reaction, however, was also one of 'let's make the most of it'. Especially on the second day of the show, a gentle buzz could be noted again, everybody took his/ her time for booth visits, and the general remark heard was that under these circumstances things were not too bad as they could have been.
For pigs, things could definitely have been worse. Approximately 12% of all visitors indicated that pig farming was their main activity – compared to 37% for poultry. Generally it is expected that this year's EuroTier will be the place where the stronger emphasis of the pig industry can be found anyway.
In addition, many companies will now have to consider whether it will be a good idea to use this opportunity in Hanover, Germany, to make up for missed chances in Utrecht.
In short: 2010 isn't over – the best is yet to come.