The recent announcement that SALTEX will be rescheduling from November 2020 to Spring 2021, has been met with enthusiastic support from both exhibitors and visitors.
The Grounds Management Association (GMA) Board of Directors said that the unanimous decision was based on ensuring the safety of everyone connected with the event and to provide the respite required to readjust to changing professional and personal circumstances. Furthermore, the GMA Board, believes that by acting now, it will allow everyone to plan as effectively as possible and help the industry to regroup and recover.
The announcement has been well received by exhibitors and those working in the industry who have praised the timing of the decision.
“We are pleased to see the GMA take decisive steps to deal with the growing doubt and anxiety about SALTEX going ahead in November. It would have been a difficult decision for a variety of reasons, but for us the right one to remove uncertainty and replace it with a forward date that we can look forward to with optimism. Early March keeps us in the ‘pre-season’ window to be able to give focus to the exhibition before the pressures of the season takeover,” said David Cole, managing director of Reesink Turfcare.
David’s views are echoed by Caroline Shaw, European marketing manager for Trimax Mowers: “The decision to postpone the largest show of the year couldn’t have been easy but the decisive action, coupled with the determination to put the health and well-being of our industry professionals first, is something we are proud to support.”
Roger Moore, sales and marketing manager for Dennis and SISIS said: “At Dennis and SISIS we agree with the decision. In these difficult times the industry will need its trade show and we believe that the postponement until March 2021 is the right decision for both exhibitors and visitors.”
Tom Shinkins, operations manager at GKB Machines, believes that the new dates could be advantageous: “It’s a great decision to move SALTEX to March 2021. The GMA has had to think about people’s safety and the government restrictions put in place but I believe the new dates will actually be more beneficial because we’ll be able to arrange demonstrations with prospective new customers straight after the show.
“With the show previously in November, we would meet lots of visitors on our stand but quite often we would not be able to carry out demonstrations for them until the new year due to the unpredictable weather. Now we will have the whole of Spring to visit SALTEX customers.”
Social media channels and online forums were flooded with industry professionals who also welcomed the announcement:
“It’s a sensible decision which allows everyone to concentrate on the here and now and then focus for 2021,” said Neil Stubley, head of courts and horticulture at the All English Lawn and Tennis Club, Wimbledon.
Karl McDermott, head groundsman at Lord’s, said: “Sad news but the right decision. I always see SALTEX as a great way to finish off the cricket season but now it is going to be a nice warmup for next season. I’m looking forward to March 2021.”
Landscaper Greg Francis was also positive about the decision: “I’m looking forward to it. It’s a much better time of year for the gardeners because during the months of October/November it is non-stop leaf clearance,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the GMA Board, Geoff Webb, CEO at the GMA commented: “We would like to thank our exhibitors, visitors, partners and suppliers for their support and patience during this challenging time. It has been highly encouraging to see the industry come together and support the GMA’s decision.
“We feel we have acted quickly, working hard to secure these new Spring dates, in order to deliver the event the industry deserves.”
Early indications for SALTEX 2021, the show’s 75th anniversary, are extremely positive after show organisers reported a record-breaking loyalty period, stand upgrades and an influx of debut exhibitors. It comes off the back of the most successful SALTEX to date which saw a record breaking 9,104 visitors attend the 2019 event.
SALTEX will take place on 3 and 4 March 2021 at the NEC, Birmingham.