GW: As of today, it is still the plan to stage glasstec 2020 in October as originally scheduled?
We are on track and glasstec will take place as planned. There is currently no intention to cancel or postpone the fair. Presumably by the end of May, the general decree of the state capital of Düsseldorf will remain in effect, in which major events with more than 1000 participants present at the same time are generally prohibited. There is still plenty of time until the end of October.
GW: If so, what impact do you envisage the Coronavirus epidemic having on the event?
I think we will see an obvious impact on the event itself, since trade fairs are always a reflection of the market. Right now, companies are rearranging their budgets and strategies to manoeuvre through these uncertain times. The top priority for everyone in the glass industry, whether a large international player or a small craft enterprise, should be to safeguard the health of its employees and jobs so that they can still plan future investments.
GW: How will Messe Düsseldorf react accordingly?
Due to the rapidly changing situation, further developments cannot be foreseen. We will continue to be present to assure our customers, partners and all those involved that glasstec is and will remain the top address for the international glass industry. We already informed our exhibitors that we are postponing the official admission date to 27 May. This gives them time and the opportunity to concentrate on their current extraordinary tasks. Despite all this, our team is still in close contact with exhibitors and will provide detailed information on all enquiries.
Furthermore, we take the concerns of our customers, guests and partners very seriously. Their safety is always our top priority. As usual, the Düsseldorf exhibition grounds offer a high level of hygiene and safety, as well as good medical care. We are closely monitoring current developments and are in direct contact with the authorities. The close contact between all authorities involved ensures that any new findings are exchanged quickly and that measures can be adapted after a reassessment of the situation.
GW: Do you have any words of reassurance for exhibitors and visitors alike?
As usual, Messe Düsseldorf will support its exhibitors and visitors as much as possible. Most important in these challenging times is that all industry players meet again this autumn at the world's leading industry platform to network, form and expand partnerships and set the course for the future of the glass industry. This is the most important message we can give you with regard to autumn 2020.
GW: Bearing in mind the cancellation of other glass industry exhibitions and conferences in the first half of 2020, does this increase the importance of glasstec 2020 on the international glass events calendar?
This year, the industry has had few opportunities to present itself and to network with all players of the glass community. This makes participation in glasstec this autumn even more important. We continue to market glasstec in all relevant markets and are receiving feedback that there is still a high level of approval from exhibitors and visitors. The Asian region in particular continues to show great interest in participating at glasstec.
GW: How will the many events rearranged for September to November impact glasstec 2020?
glasstec is the must attend event and global meeting point for everyone in the glass industry. Here, exhibitors and visitors will find the world market leaders and top decision-makers in the industry in one place. This is what makes glasstec so special. Therefore, we do not expect any impact due to the date changes of other events.
What can visitors expect from glasstec 2020 in comparison to previous editions?
In terms of content, glasstec 2020 will focus on the global challenges of climate change, scarcity of resources, increasing urbanisation, the need for further value creation and the contribution that the material glass can create ‘happiness’ by increasing the quality of life for mankind. Participants at glasstec will also find these topics in our special show glass technology live and at the glasstec conference. This year's contributions for the individual sessions on glass production, processing and finishing technologies, products and applications will come from participating exhibitors, as well as from science and research. The various topics will be covered daily, on all four days of the fair and should address at least two of the five challenges. The central question for us at glasstec 2020 is: How can the glass industry contribute to master these global challenges?
The glasstec conference also contains our top notch conferences like function meets glass on 19 October 2020, which will deal with the challenges and solutions for manufacturing and finishing and the fields of application of functional glass. The International Architecture Congress on 21 October 2020, which will be held for the first time in co-operation with DETAIL, the magazine for architecture and building details. And the scientific conference engineered transparency on 22-23 October 2020, where current developments and scientific research results in structural glass construction and facade technology will be discussed.