CEO appeals to members split over EFTTEX’s new duration
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The head of EFTTA has pleaded for understanding in these ‘unprecedented times’ as a survey conducted by Angling International showed a split within the industry over the decision to reduce EFTTEX to a two-day event next year.
A poll by the magazine has produced an unprecedented response from those due to exhibit at the show this year. It shows an almost 50-50 division over the move by EFTTA, which was made to reduce costs and ensure the survival of the cash-strapped organisation.
According to CEO Olivier Portrat, the feeling among the trade on the issue demonstrates the almost impossible situation EFTTA finds itself in. He said: “Any decision we make will be the wrong one for some people. EFTTA tries hard to find the best solutions for the industry, but it is a fact that we will never please all members all the time.
“COVID-19 is not a situation of our making and EFTTA is having to make some very big decisions to survive. These are exceptional circumstances.”
Portrat admitted that he has received comments from some exhibitors who are unhappy with the choice of Saturday – traditionally the slowest day of the show – as a choice. He also indicated that there was still ‘room for movement’ on the dates of the show in Prague, which are currently scheduled for June 4th and 5th.
“Saturday was included to coincide with the street fishing tournament that we have organised,” he added. “Cutting a day off the schedule was a difficult decision, but cost-cutting decisions have to be made across the board.
“Everyone is being asked to make major sacrifices in these difficult times,” said Portrat, who revealed that he has taken a 50% cut in salary to help the association.
Responding to criticism that EFTTA failed to canvas the views of the membership over such a fundamental change to EFTTEX, Portrat said: “There simply was not enough time. To get the views of the membership could take up to two weeks. We needed to make a quick decision and did not have time to do that.”
Angling International emailed all EFTTA members due to exhibit at EFTTEX and received replies from over a quarter of would-be attendees. Among those who were unhappy about losing a day in Prague next year was Glenn Young, National Sales Manager of Z-Man Fishing, the American-based company that was set to make its debut at EFTTEX.
He said: “It seems a long way to travel for a two-day show. I don’t think it gives anyone enough time to see everything and speak to those who they came to see. I think everyone will feel rushed.
“EFTTA should also be willing to pro-rate my booth and refund me the difference between paying for a three-day stand and getting two.”
Long-time exhibitor Stephen Colvin, Managing Director of Colvin International, owner of the Eyelevel sunglasses brand, said: “It is completely wrong to expect companies who have paid for a three-day show to accept a two-day event with no reduction in price. There was no consultation whatsoever.”
Ken Harada, General Manager of Japanese line manufacturer Momoi, said: “From a logistics point of view, it makes attending the show more problematic. Although less and less visitors are attending the last day, it was very important to us because it gave us an opportunity to communicate and do business with fellow exhibitors.”
Bruce Stanton, Vice President and General Manager of PRADCO-Fishing said: “Three days has been too long for EFTTEX for quite a while. Vendors start tearing down their booths after lunch on the Saturday so the evidence indicates that not everyone wants to be there three full days.”
Christian Dibisch, Managing Director of the German-based tackle supplier WFT, said: “From my experience of the last ten years, I would say two days is enough. Saturday was always very slow, although there is a danger that the second day becomes the new ‘slow’ day.
“Perhaps something should be done by all of us to make the last day more attractive.”
Bruno Blondeau, of French-based exhibitor Grenier Bolay, added: “I can understand the move to two days, but Friday and Saturday are the worst possible options. They are the most important days for retailers who now face the difficult choice of attending EFTTEX or losing valuable revenue.
“The very best decision will be to hold it midweek and extend the opening times up to 7pm so exhibitors get a full two days. Having a show over the weekend also adds to the logistical and freight handling costs.”