VIV Europe Hotline, 20 April : Some of the long-distance visitors may have been missing due to the air travel disruption of recent days, but the atmosphere at the first day of the VIV Europe show in the Netherlands was described as extremely positive.

“It was no-one’s fault that the attendances today were smaller than usual,” in the words of one exhibitor. “We all accept that this volcano has been a natural phenomenon that has stopped the planes flying to and from the north of Europe. What is more, we know that the poultry and pig industries are in a healthier state now than in recent times, which can only be good for business in the year ahead. This exhibition will still give us the platform we seek to make the most of the business opportunities.”

 Gerard Leeuwenburgh, who heads the VIV organizing team as international director at VNU Exhibitions, is equally upbeat in his analysis of the first day’s results. Expectations at the start of the week were at such a low level because of the chaotic flights situation, he comments, but everyone has been impressed and happy at the efforts that people have made to be here at the show.

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“I hear some heroic stories,” says Mr Leeuwenburgh, “such as the case of about eight big pig producers from South Africa who spent days waiting at an airport until they could find a flight to bring them to Europe and then faced a further long journey by rail to reach Holland. We have other visitors from the Ukraine who traveled the whole way by road.

“Of course, I am disappointed to miss seeing the visitors who wanted to come from Asia, the Middle East and North and South America. A realistic estimate at this stage is that our visitor numbers will only be about half of what they should have been. But the response of our exhibitors has been fantastic. Although there are some empty booths, mostly these were small exhibits so the calculation is that 85% of the floor space is occupied. That is a fantastic achievement under the circumstances.”