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Talking Point | June 2019

Groundwork done to woo more visitors from Asia: C. Beauduin

ITMA, which will be held from June 20 to June 26, 2019 at Barcelona, Spain, is the trendsetting and the world’s largest international textile and garment technology exhibition. Charles Beauduin, Chairman of ITMA Services, the organiser of ITMA 2019, shares details on the roadshows launched to promote the event around the world, and the features that distinguishes this 2019 edition with the previously-held ITMA in Italy.

ITMA 2019 is a sell-out, it is said. So, what is the final tally of exhibitors, and the total space with halls. Give is also a brief comparison with the previous event.

Our upcoming exhibition will feature 1,700 exhibitors from 46 countries. We are pleased that there is strong interest, resulting in an increase in the exhibition space. Unfortunately, we still have a long waiting list of companies which we could not accommodate. We will release more details at the onsite press conference in June.

What are the various new infrastructural efforts undertaken that would make things easy for exhibitors and visitors alike?

CEMATEX appointed ITMA Services as organiser of ITMA 2019 and future ITMA-branded exhibitions. Besides helping to maintain and expand ITMA’s unique selling proposition and relevance to a global audience, ITMA Services will also ensure a consistent level of service delivery to participants at every edition.

We have set up a portal, which makes it convenient for visitors to buy their exhibition and conference badges, and request visa invitation letters in one go. The exhibition catalogue can also be downloaded from the portal. We have also launched an app to enable participants to plan their visit, make appointments with exhibitors before the show, navigate the show floor, and access the latest information at their fingertips.

As a cosmopolitan city, Barcelona is a very attractive venue. It has a wide selection of hotels, restaurants and tourist sights, underscored by wonderful Catalan hospitality.

What is the expectation on visitors? Give us also some details about the roadshows launched to promote the event?

From the response we have received from supporting organisations from around the world, we are optimistic that major industry players will not want to miss ITMA 2019. ITMA, as an exhibition of global scale, is the ideal platform to feel the pulse of a fast changing industry. Visitors are looking forward to the exhibition as the textile and garment making chain is undergoing digital transformation. Hence, they will be interested in exploring solutions leveraging the Internet of Things, as well as technologies that improve competitiveness and sustainability.

Asia is an important region as the textile and garment industry is an important sector in many Asian economies. Hence, we have intensified our promotions in south and southeast Asia, particularly in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

Will there be any new feature to distinguish this 2019 edition, setting it apart from the previous editions?

For this edition, our theme is ‘Innovating the World of Textiles’. To support this theme, we have launched ITMA Innovation Lab. The Innovation Lab is a new umbrella branding of a series of activities where participants will be able to explore and share new research developments, discuss new collaborative projects and get insights into future industry trends. In addition, we have invited various partners to co-locate their events at ITMA 2019. Participants can also look forward to attending a number of forums, ranging from sustainability to nonwoven production and digital printing.

Industry forums seem to have received greater response. What are the expectations and comments on this?

In the past, ITMA was more focused on delivering a buy-and-sell platform and it has served the industry very well. But, as the world globalises and moves towards the digital age, it is critical to have industry events to promote leading edge research and development, and facilitate cross sharing of ideas. For our part, we are organising two events with the support of industry partners: the ITMA-EDANA Nonwovens Forum and Textile Colourant and Chemical Leaders Forum. All in all, we hope the cluster of events at ITMA will help spark collaboration among stakeholders from various parts of the value chain.

Innovation and research is getting a boost. How will this be reflected at this ITMA Barcelona?

The ITMA Innovation Lab is a great place for exhibitors to spotlight their latest innovations, and for visitors to learn about the latest developments and share viewpoints and knowledge on this important topic. It includes well-received features from previous editions, such as the Research and Innovation Pavilion, Speakers Platform and ITMA Sustainable Innovation Award.

A new component is the Innovation video showcase, which will provide a new channel for visitors to learn more about innovative exhibits at ITMA 2019. Unlike past editions, we have invited guest speakers who are not our exhibitors to give presentations at the Speakers Platform. There will be over 60 presentation slots and we hope visitors will allocate time to attend the sessions.

The ITMA Barcelona 2011 received some flak for rejection of many visas from countries like India. Have any steps been taken to avert such a situation?

In 2011, ITMA was held in Spain for the first time, and there were many Indian visa applicants. However, as this is the second time that ITMA is held in Barcelona, there is greater awareness about ITMA and the scale of the Indian participation by the Spanish embassy and consulates in India. A special visit by the ITMA team to the embassy last December has further enhanced understanding and communication. So far, this has contributed to the smooth facilitation of our participants’ visa application. Barcelona is a wonderful city to host ITMA, so we would like to urge Indian visitors not to miss this edition.

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