Petrol 'crisis' hinders National Venue Show

A fuel 'crisis' that turned out to be nothing but hype hit attendances at this year's National Venue Show.

Exhibitors at the three-day event, which took place at the Birmingham NEC from 13-15 September, blamed a quiet first day on reports that there might be protests by the fuel lobby, but praised the quality of those who did attend.

Georgina Clapton Hall, event director for organiser Waypoint Exhibitions, said: "We actually had more visitors than last year as well as more on the first day, but we'd made the show bigger by adding 400sqm to the floorplan. It seemed quiet, but whether it had anything to do with the proposed action is a really hard question to answer."

She added: "Traditionally our middle day is always busier, but exhibitors appreciate it's not a numbers game and that the people who visited on the first day were of good quality."

In 2001, the debut National Venue Show attracted 3,600 visitors and totalled 1,750sqm with 214 stands. This year's un-audited attendance figures indicate that the show attracted 5,900 visitors spread across 2,450sqm comprising 285 stands. Last year it attracted 5,535 visitors.

Birmingham Hippodrome hospitality and events manager Judith Cartwright said: "It was quiet on day one and exhibitors were looking at each other thinking where is everybody? People assumed that many visitors were at home conserving petrol."

Waypoint managing director Stephen Richards said the fuel crisis in 2000 delayed the launch show by a year. "I was really fearful last night and it was great to see the news stories saying there was no crisis and the panic was for nothing," he added.

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