The euphoria and optimism with which Koelnmesse is working to revive Spoga+Gafa are palpable when Stefan Lohrberg steps forward and takes the microphone. The manager responsible for the world's leading trade fair for the garden sector speaks of a pretty emotional moment as he welcomes journalists from all over Europe to the advance press conference, and you can believe it. For two years, the sector has been unable to meet and fairs have been cancelled. Now everything is expected to get going again.
The director of Spoga+Gafa is just as credible when he speaks of the humility with which the figures are perceived at Koelnmesse. In concrete terms, they look like this: around 1 500 exhibitors from 65 countries will take part in Spoga+Gafa in June 2022, occupying around 200 000 m² of exhibition space. According to Lohrberg, there is "a huge commitment" from Germany and a lot of encouragement from North America. Many exhibitors will increase their space, and some companies are new or returning. However, Koelnmesse is expecting a significant decline in Asian exhibitors. Companies from the Far East with European branches, on the other hand, are expected at the fair.
The most important change for 2022 is "that we have moved Spoga+Gafa to June", said Lohrberg. The reactions from the industry – both from the DIY sector and explicitly from the green trade - showed "that this big move was right", he emphasised.
This approval is confirmed not only by the extended cooperation with the German DIY association BHB and the Association of German Garden Centres, VDG. For the first time, there is also cooperation with the garden centres of the German cooperative Egesa-Zookauf and with Tuinbranche Nederland. The international DIY association Edra/Ghin also expressly supports the fair, as general secretary John Herbert emphasised several times at the press conference.
A new feature this year will be an exhibition area featuring exhibitors from the international furniture fair imm under the motto "home meets spoga+gafa". Among other things, this takes into account the growing interconnection of the indoor and outdoor segments. Koelnmesse calls this unique segment a pop-up event.
One of the consequences will be a new hall set-up in the furniture zone, a "triangle of short paths" consisting of Halls 3.1, 11.1 and 11.2 as well as the Unique Hall 10.2. The entire Interior Decoration category in Hall 9 will also be given greater emphasis. The partially new hall layout is also possible because Spoga+Gafa 2022 will take place for the first time without Spoga Horse.
The segmentation of Spoga+Gafa will remain as it was before the coronavirus interruption, however. The organiser is also taking the guiding theme of "sustainable gardens" with it from the plans of two years ago. Among other things, the question mark of the green key visual will be contrasted with 30 exclamation marks with solutions from the ranks of the manufacturers distributed around the exhibition area.
Stefan Lohrberg highlighted the new digital platform "Spoga+Gafa 365" as an important innovation. In his presentation, he compared it to the Linkedin business network. In addition to the networking idea, the presentation of products is also included here - and in these times, when order cycles are dissolving, this represents a need in the industry. From the trade fair's point of view, this means: "We are transporting the brand promise of Spoga+Gafa into the digital realm."
Koelnmesse continues to focus on the internationalisation of its business model, which is designed to "get our customers talking to and networking with each other worldwide". Managing director Oliver Frese made this clear at the press conference for Spoga+Gafa. The last few years had also shown "how important regional events are for our markets". The current global political situation will change the markets, however. Against this background, the trade fair organiser is observing a clear "trend towards continental regionalisation".