Francine van Wijk and Dianne Ramakers of BureauSierteelt.nl are very confident about the upcoming edition of Flower Expo Poland that takes place from August 31 to September 2. Three and a half months before the starting date, the trade floor is almost fully booked. Sales of flowers and potted plants to Poland have seen a strong increase this year.
There might be eight or nine places left, is Ramakers’ estimate. When they’re gone, the entire 1,800-m2 Flower Expo Poland trade show, which is organised by BureauSierteelt, will be completely booked out. There’s a chance that the trade fair is going to be expanded to a total of 2,400 m2, maybe even for this edition.
BureauSierteelt has to inform the organisers with their decision this week, but Van Wijk hopes that it will still be possible to arrange an expansion at a later stage, if need be. She does expect that all the exhibition booths will be fully booked anyway. Reservations are far ahead compared with this time last year.
Not so strange really, considering how successful the first edition was. There aren’t any solid figures for that trade fair, because visitors were centrally registered. Therefore, it isn’t clear which fair they visited: Flower Expo Poland or Green is Life, a fair for tree growers. But Van Wijk can give an indication at least. During the three show days, there were 1,000 more visitors at the exhibition centre than the year before, reaching a total of 17,500. And they got mostly positive feedback from the exhibitors. “Everyone was enthusiastic, it was the first time that all exhibitors were happy and there was a really good atmosphere. They thought is was an attractive and well organised trade fair.”
Half of last year’s exhibitors is coming back this year. That’s a good percentage. There are many Dutch companies among the exhibitors, including some newcomers like Dümmen Orange, Van den Bos Flowerbulbs, Deliflor and Griffioen/ Uniq Plants.
There are also many Italian, German, Polish and Colombian companies. Even though the Colombians don’t normally visit any trade fairs during the year that their own interest organisation Asocolflores hosts the Pro Flora fair in October. A new organisation, Colviveros, decided nonetheless to come to Poland with at least five companies.
It is not surprising that companies are keen to participate in Poland. The Polish plant and flower market is booming. This is confirmed by figures from Floridata. The export value of plants and flowers from the Netherlands to Poland reached €188.5 million last year. That was an 8.5% increase compared with 2015. And the first quarter of this year showed an increase of 30.9%. Economic growth has been leading to a growing middle class in Poland, which has a total population of 40 million. It also means that people are spending more, which is positive for plant and flower sales. People used to buy plants and flowers mainly as gifts, but they’re now buying plants and flowers for personal use as well. “According to a research by VGB, Royal FloraHolland and Bloemenbureau Holland the Poles love plants and flowers, even more than other Europeans”, adds Van Wijk.
Just like last year, VGB, PR agency Sigma, the Dutch embassy in Warsaw, Kuehne + Nagel, Polish florists organisation Stowarzyszenie Florystów Polskich (SFP), Floral Moments and Floribusiness will be supporting partners again.
This year’s Flower Expo Poland will be similar to last year’s, but it won’t be exactly the same, explains Van Wijk. The demonstration area for florists for example, will be more professional. “We would like to have more interaction with the visitors, especially the florists. It will be more like an interactive Pavilion with flower presentations for people to walk through. In addition, flower arrangers will give demonstrations at scheduled times. A bigger part of the exhibition is on the ground floor this year, it’s more accessible for visitors and it will feel more like a flower shop. Our goal is to inspire, inform and motivate visitors.” We’re collaborating with the Polish florists’ organisation SFP for the Pavilion. According to Van Wijk, the programme will be finalised in two weeks time. She adds that apart from exhibiting growers, growers who don’t exhibit can supply flowers for the Pavilion as well. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to present their flowers to visiting florists.
Just like in 2016, there will be a seminar in collaboration with Green is Life. BureauSierteelt supplies four speakers, including Marc Eijsackers of Flower Council of Holland and the successor of Robert Roodenburg of VGB. The tree growers’ fair supplies the other five speakers.
“And we’d like to focus specifically on the retail channels, so we’ve hired PR agency Sigma. They’ll ask retailers what in particular they’re looking for on the show floor.” The most important target groups of Flower Expo Poland are florists, retailers and wholesalers.
There are a lot of activities around the fair. Paul Ras of Sense, Marketing & More for example, is organising a market study tour. It will include a dinner at the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw and a reception at the Dutch Embassy. The Embassy will also organise PR activities again to promote Flower Expo Poland in the city.
“We definitely have a good feeling about this trade show”, says Van Wijk. “I’d like to point out though that all we’re offering is a platform. We work hard to recruit exhibitors and visitors from Poland and surrounding countries, but it’s the participants’ role to let customers know that they’re there. Don’t just sit in your booth and wait, be proactive and make yourself stand out! Together we can make it a big success!”