by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
SALTEX, the show for grounds care, open space management, parks and playgrounds, so BRINTEX, its organizers, have decided, is moving from the great open air venue Windsor Racecourse to indoors at the NEC Birmingham.
This move might be regretted, if indications are to go by from exhibitors and visitors, and most of all by the IOG. Many exhibitors that I spoke to on Tuesday, September 2, 2014, certainly were more than apprehensive of this move and were even wondering as to whether they would continue, and could afford to continue, to exhibit at SALTEX.
While it is true that changes often are viewed with apprehension as one ventures into the unknown the concerns of many of the big machine exhibitors is that (1) they may have problems getting those in to the NEC and (2) that they will not be able to run actual demonstrations of how those machines perform in the setting they will have to be working in. Static displays can be had in every showroom.
It is probably true that SALTEX in its long-standing location of Windsor Racecourse might have, at least in the last couple of years, turned into somewhat of a regional show for the South of the UK with visitors coming mostly from that region and not so many from anywhere north of the Watford Gap. Though, having said that, one has always seen visitors from councils and other agencies from “up north” as well, including such places as Yorkshire.
What really might have been needed might be two more or less regional shows, one remaining where is was, Windsor, and another one on a similar venue in the northern part of England, maybe in Yorkshire, such as Harrogate.
The drop in attendance over the last two years, in both visitors and exhibitors, has not so much to do with the fact that the show was in the South, so to speak, but with the fact that the money is tight, due to the ongoing Great Recession and that especially with local authorities and such agencies who are thus unable to consider new equipment and also travel of their personnel to the show at Windsor.
The move to Birmingham will certainly cause the visitor numbers from the South go down to a trickle due to the costs of traveling (and staying) in Birmingham.
I wish SALTEX and the IOG all the best with their move to the NEC and hope they will not regret leaving Windsor.