By Andreas Weber & Morten B. Reitoft

Düsseldorf is the seventh-largest city in Germany, with a population exceeding 620.000. In the printing industry, Düsseldorf is mostly known as the town for drupa ("Druck und Papier"). However, Düsseldorf has more than 400 creative agencies, 200 publishing companies and hosts the German headquarters for a range of the world's most famous brands, like L'oreal, Henkel, BASF, Espirit, and many more. And, of course, the famous Altbier!

Skyscrapers in the city center show the city's wealth. Still, just a few blocks away from the banks, insurance companies, and the headquarters of companies, you see the downside of the mega-cities with drug-addicts, prostitutes, and the dark side of humans. As with every larger city, money gets you everything you need. 

Düsseldorf is also an exhibition center with Messecenter Düsseldorf playing a major role in the local economy. Exhibitions and tradeshows are significant in Germany, and with Messe Düsseldorf being the 7th-largest of the large exhibition cities, the Messe Düsseldorf Group grossed 294 million Euros in 2018. Recently, in 2019, sales rose by around 25% to € 369 million, as domestic business rose sharply. The profit of the GmbH has more than tripled. Their annual surplus rose by 217 percent to 49 million euros (2018: 15.3 million euros). This results in a return on sales of 14.4 percent (previous year: 5.9 percent). (See more here.)

Messecenter Düsseldorf, however, had a revenue in 2016 of 442.8 million euros. 2016 was a drupa year; 2018 and 2019 wasn't.

Messecenter Düsseldorf delivers 23 no. 1 shows (29 in total, hosting 26,300 total exhibitors and 1,274,000 total trade visitors. The impact of the COVID-19 is not only about Messecenter Düsseldorf, drupa, but the entire city and state of North Rhine-Westphalia. 

More than a million hotel-nights are sold annually. On top of that comes entertainment, restaurants, taxies, transportation, bars, and all the things that are consumed by visitors.

The COVID-19 is, by all means, a catastrophe for cities like Düsseldorf. Twelve of Messecenter Düsseldorfs own shows have been postponed - and though Messecenter Düsseldorf continues to push the events with rising infection numbers in Europe, the promises sound hollow. 

As you will learn over the next days, Messecenter Düsseldorf and all the exhibitions planned are heavily influenced by the COVID-19, but what you will also learn is how Messecenter Düsseldorf, and particularly in relation to the printing industry, drupa, will minimize their potential losses by of loading the liability to all the exhibitors supposed to be exhibiting their products and services.

When a show like drupa is postponed to 2021, you could think that the exhibition terms would change and relate to the unfortunate situation - BUT NO. During the next days, you will also learn how much it costs to cancel your participation at drupa, and you will learn how drupa strongarm exhibitors and leave the entire global printing industry in a considerably worse situation. 

We will share our thoughts on why drupa 2021 will be canceled and why drupa's behavior jeopardizes the entire future of the event. You will learn how sub-contractors are left behind and how hotels are abusing an absurd situation.
We make constructive thoughts about the future of drupa, what the alternatives are, and why the need for mega-tradeshows in the future seems to be less obvious.

Andreas Weber and Morten Reitoft share their insights and long experiences to evaluate the USP of drupa and have interviewed more than forty current and previous exhibitors of all sizes. We have spoken to the various stakeholders (visitors incl.) and reached out to other tradeshows to learn if the cancelations politics seen with drupa are comparable to what you would expect from other events.

So stay tuned. And watch our INKISH Video Conversation as well: "drupa 2021 to be canceled*"


Attached is terms & conditions for info of drupa and 2019 published numbers by Messecenter Düsseldorf.