The last of the fruit and vegetable sector's major international fairs scheduled for 2020, Fruit Attraction, in Madrid, was canceled this week and its in-person celebration was postponed to October 5-7, 2021.
"After the State of Alarm in Spain ended, we thought it was better to wait and monitor the evolution of the pandemic before making a decisive decision; which we did on September 1, coinciding with the end of the holiday period in Spain," stated Raul Calleja, the director of Fruit Attraction.
"The truth is that we all hoped the outbreaks would be controlled. However, the evolution of the virus in Europe, as well as the new distancing measures in Spain and the quarantines imposed on travelers in many European and non-EU countries, have made it impossible to hold a normal edition of the fair," he added.
According to Raul Calleja, during this period, the Fruit Attraction organization delayed payment terms and recommended that companies wait to make investments in stand designs and book their flights and hotels. "That's why we believe the economic impact will be much lower than if we had encouraged everyone to invest with all guarantees."
The 12th edition of Fruit Attraction will therefore be a telepresence meeting held through the Fruit Attraction LIVE Connect platform, which will be operational throughout the month of October. "It is not a digital or virtual fair, but a telepresence event, as users must be in person on their computers or mobile devices. We defend face-to-face meetings, although this year they'll have to take place through another channel. Therefore, it is not a substitute, but a characteristic of the 12th edition to maintain the seniority of our exhibitors and our loyalty policy," the director of the fair stated.
"I have a good feeling. People have responded very well so far. Our goal is to build the largest community of professionals in the fruit and vegetable sector in the world and this year we will be assisted by an advanced artificial intelligence system specialized in connecting supply with demand. Fruit Attraction is increasingly targeting this young sector, which is the generation that is taking over and, although at the beginning it may have seemed more complicated for the Senior sector, I believe that -since March- we have all learned to deal with digital platforms to conduct team and business meetings. The truth is that Fruit Attraction LIVE Connect is very simple and intuitive. It will be available for a month, so users have time to familiarize themselves with how to use it. If it were only available for 3 days, it would possibly go unnoticed."
According to Raul Calleja, one of the possible consequences of having this edition online this year is that the attendees will try to maintain business relationships with clients, rather than to seek new ones. "On the other hand, this year can help highlight the usefulness and importance of Fruit Attraction as a commercial platform for the sector. If this is so, the 2021 edition will be spectacular if everything returns to normal."