‘There is no plan B for IPM Essen’
Interview with Messe Essen boss Oliver P. Kuhrt

Author: Ron van der Ploeg

ESSEN, Germany: Nobody does trade fairs like the Germans. Even during a pandemic the (trade) show must go on, but Ordnung muss sein (“there must be order”). Messe Essen boss Oliver P. Kuhrt is adamant that the IPM Essen show, the world’s premier horticultural trade show, will go ahead on its planned date of 26-29 January 2021.

Note from the editor: on 21 October 2021 Messe Essen announced that it will postpone the 2021 edition of the show.

Kuhrt is pleased that Messe Essen can gradually return to its core business. “Trade fairs have already been successfully held again at Messe Essen. The Essen Motor Show is in the starting blocks as ‘Limited Edition’ and will open at the end of November as our first B2C fair after  the lockdown. Apart from the ongoing event business, our focus is also and especially this year on the acquisition of new events such as Altenpflege, a nursing and elderly care trade show. And preparations for IPM ESSEN 2021 are of course well underway.”

When asked about Messe Essen’s preliminary estimates in terms of number of IPM 2021  exhibitors, visitors and show floor size, Kuhrt says. “The show will occupy the entire site as  usual. Today, more than 900 exhibitors have registered and that’s a good level considering the  rather challenging circumstances. About 1,500 square metres will be occupied by new exhibitors. The current hygiene concept allows up to 15,000 visitors a day to move around the grounds.”

If Covid-19 has taught us anything is that how quickly policy responses of governments tackling the coronavirus outbreak can change over time. Meanwhile, the global events industry typically requires months of preparation to organise large show such as IPM Essen. Does Kuhrt feel there is to be just as much focus on what happens if the IPM has to be  cancelled as there is on making the world’s premier horticultural trade show a success? He says, “There is no plan B for IPM. We are fully on track with this event and have no intention of looking for any new dates.”

Read the entire interview in FCI’s upcoming November/December issue.