TFWA President Jaya Singh doubled down on his message that the TFWA World Exhibition and Conference in Cannes will take place, stressing that “the show will go on” during a virtual press conference last week.
The decision comes with the unanimous support of the Management Committee, and with pledges to attend from retailers, large and small, he affirmed.
The goal is to “bring the industry together, at last” even as the organization recognizes that the event will be smaller than in previous years. Nearly 250 exhibitors have confirmed their presence at this time, and the association says more are in discussions to attend. This is about half of the number that participated at the last Cannes event in 2019.
“Our focus remains on the long awaited opportunity to meet, do business and plan for 2022. Although it will be somewhat of a ‘mini-Cannes’, it will still be of sufficient scale for us to deliver on the need that everyone is looking forward to,” said Singh.
Attendance will be strong and there will be better quality time for discussions among industry partners, he added.
“.. the industry is in recovery mode and opportunities are arising,” added Singh, pointing out there will be many chances to network.
Safety precautions, status of Americans
He also stressed that the show will take place “under the umbrella of stringent health and safety measures,” which will not be compromised.
A major question in everyone’s minds was the status of Americans attending the show, since the European Council had recommended restricting non-essential travel from the U.S. earlier in the week, due to the rising number of coronavirus infections.
TFWA Managing Director, John Rimmer discussed current restrictions and spelled out the health and safety protocols in place from the French government and in Cannes, specifically.
Currently travelers fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine may enter France without any restrictions, he said, and the U.S. remains on the list of “green” countries.
Unvaccinated travelers, or those from “red” countries, must prove that they have a pressing need to travel and show proof of a recent negative COVID test though.
“Obviously, we will continue to monitor the situation, as we have over the past 18 months. We have had to put health measures in place in Cannes to be able to create the environment in which people feel safe. We want the best possible environment for everyone.”
These measures will include the wearing of masks within the Palais, and checking each delegate for vaccination documents at the entrance.
In order to facilitate entry for as wide a cross section of delegates as possible, TFWA will be providing testing facilities on site (including antigen tests for rapid results to cause minimum disruption). There will also be a 24-hour medical concierge on site for anyone who feels ill.
“If any cases [of COVID] are identified, they will be suitably looked after by the medical authorities,” said Rimmer.
Working with local authorities
“We know that the situation is quite volatile and can change quickly with regards to national guidelines in France and elsewhere. We are monitoring this on a
daily basis and will be communicating with all of our exhibitors (and pre-registered delegates) with any changes.”
“We are fortunate to be working with local authorities who are extremely aware of the importance of providing a healthy and safe environment. The Mayor and his teams have been extremely productive in ensuring the health and safety protocols.”
Cannes has already organized some major events, including a successful Film Festival, and Rimmer says that TFWA has taken a lot of the learnings from that.
“We are also encouraged by the recurrence of trade shows, not just in Cannes, but around the world.”
He cited Cosmoprof North America and more events in Dubai.
TFWA Vice-President Commercial, Donatienne de Fontaines-Guillaume (Moët Hennessy) noted that the 2021 show will be cover-ing about 11,000 square meters of space, and commented: “The commitment and the will to come is extremely strong, and TFWA is trying to help those who cannot attend due to travel restriction.”
Live streaming conference
In addition to using the virtual TFWA 365 online platform, Rimmer confirmed that the TFWA Opening Conference would be live streamed for the benefit of those who cannot travel to Cannes.