VIV Europe Hotline, 21 April:  Visiting clients in Italy last week, there was no return home pre-VIV for Alan Thomson, regional commercial and technical manager with Aviagen. But thanks to colleagues bringing a suitcase of clothes to Utrecht, despite the ash cloud, the show went on. Here he shares his views from the show floor.

“It’s been interesting, the numbers are certainly down, but all the big exhibitors are here, even if the number of people on each stand is down,” Mr Thomson comments.

“There were 3,200 attendees through the door yesterday, and some 7,000 visitors were expected, but having said that, the show has been surprisingly upbeat. There have been great swathes of activity and then quiet periods, and this had given us the opportunity to talk to people for longer.

“But there are empty booths, about 120, and these are mainly the smaller ones especially those booked by Chinese and US companies. The discussion has been, who is here and who’s not, but it is certainly not a ghost town.”

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So will the volcano’s interruption of the show have a wider impact on the market?

It probably won’t have that much impact, but what is particularly noticeable is the lack of visitors from the Middle East, and these people tend to be involved in big investment projects, so there’s an opportunity missed there.

“In terms of the broader market, we still expect to see dynamic growth in Asia, Russia, and India, and Europe continues to be interesting, especially Eastern Europe.

“Now that the travel chaos is easing, more people might start to come today, and the traditional last day lull may not be such of a lull.”