Cologne: 30.05–01.06.2021 #spogagafa

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Statement of the management

Dear exhibitors,
dear visitors,

In this update, we are continuing to extensively involve you, our partners, in the planning process of the upcoming spoga+gafa trade fair. We are making good progress, as demonstrated by the feedback we’ve been getting from the sector. As delighted as we are that most of the comments we’ve been getting from exhibitors and visitors have been confirmatory, we take their concerns very seriously, especially the uncertainty felt by our partners from overseas. However, we’ve held many discussions in which we’ve been able to allay these fears and get us to better understand one another.

In summary, the feedback further strengthens us in our determination to hold spoga+gafa 2020 in Cologne from 6 to 8 September 2020. As a result, we are forging ahead with the planning of the world’s largest garden lifestyle fair and working together with the garden sector to prepare ourselves for a new normal in daily life. We are underscoring this shared conviction under the hashtag #gardenbackstronger.

Trade fairs are permitted again in Germany

With effect from the target date of 30 May 2020, trade fairs and conventions with protection concepts have once again been permitted in many regions of Germany, including North Rhine-Westphalia, where Cologne is located. The State of North Rhine-Westphalia notified the public of this ruling on 6 May 2020. Whether a trade fair would be permitted to take place or not was, for a time, subject to different regulations not only within Germany but also within Europe. That one European trade fair is taking place, while another is not, is often due to the fact that they are subject to different government regulations and that the respective national or local conditions may differ.

At the same time, the reopening of borders within Europe that is scheduled for June will provide the implementation of spoga+gafa 2020 with a further boost. If you take a look at the countries of origin of the visitors of previous years, you will see that more than three quarters of them came from Europe. Ticket sales from all over Europe already show that these visitors are willing and able to travel. If you would like to read the latest decision-maker interviews with some of our visitors, you are welcome to do so at Each week, we are adding exciting new ideas from our guests at the upcoming spoga+gafa 2020 to this site.

In September 2019 spoga+gafa welcomed over 40,000 visitors, who were distributed across Koelnmesse’s entire 230,000-square-metre exhibition area over a period of three days. We expect fewer visitors to attend the event in 2020. Most of the visitors will come from Europe, because we do not know, for example, what the reality is like for our partners overseas. This will become clearer in the months ahead. We remain optimistic in this respect, but we are also realistic.

Talks with many decision-makers from major exhibitors (e.g. from Japan and Australia) have shown that they are still very much interested in Cologne and want to visit the trade fair in September.

The floorplan will be different from previous events

At the beginning of the crisis, we had already rented out significantly more than 90 percent of our hall space, even to exhibitors from overseas. However, we will have to accept the thought that exhibitors from other continents will be unable to make it to Cologne in September unless they have agile representation in Europe. Many of the smaller exhibitors from overseas will be unable to attend due to government travel restrictions, the impossibility of obtaining visas, and quarantine regulations that will, in some cases, be in force until the end of the year. We are very sorry that these partners will be unable to attend, but look forward to welcoming them to Cologne again next year. Because many of the exhibitors from overseas will be unable to attend, Halls 1, 4.2 and 5.1 will not be occupied this year. Exhibitors who would have had their stands in these halls and who will attend this year’s fair will be integrated within other halls. We have therefore decided to plan spoga+gafa in a more compact area that will fill a total of 12 halls.

You’ll be in good hands in Cologne:

Like all other situations in daily life, spoga+gafa 2020 will be subject to a “new normal,” at least for this year. In cooperation with the authorities and the partners that support our trade fairs, we are currently drawing up the criteria and measures that will accompany us in the run-up to this year’s fair. These measures include appropriate hygiene, proper distancing of participants, and regulations for the processes conducted at the entrances, in the halls and at the stands. We’re relying on the professional behaviour of the exhibitors and visitors. Moreover, we will once again fully register the participants and exploit the size and flexibility of our exhibition centre as well as the possibilities of our digital guidance systems to make sure the trade fair runs smoothly under the conditions of the new normal.

In connection with the infrastructure needs of spoga+gafa, the Koelnmesse exhibition centre is perfectly suited for holding the event successfully and safely. The exhibition centre enables us to place most of the exhibitor stands at the same locations as in past years. This means that we have not had to change the overall planning. However, we will have to dispense with stand parties and social events and adapt to an altered catering concept in 2020. But everyone should be able to live with that for a single event.

What the exhibition centre will be like (extract)

The precise implementation of our hygienic and safety measures will follow the stipulations of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the City of Cologne authorities. Our preparations foresee the following measures:

  • 1.5 metre distance between participants
  • People must wear protective masks covering the mouth and nose. The only exceptions are if a person is sitting at a proper distance from other people at a table or moving around in our outdoor area while also keeping his or her distance.
  • Additional entrances will be provided for exhibitors. This will prevent bottlenecks from occurring in the entrance areas
  • As in previous years: full registration of all visitors and exhibitors
  • Cloakroom services will be provided free of charge: no waiting times
  • Plans call for bag checks to be conducted technologically without any direct contact. We have adapted our catering concept to the new hygiene regulations

Although we can only influence our own exhibition centre, talks with the Cologne Tourist Board, the various hotels, and the catering and hotel association Dehoga as well as the statements made by the neighbouring airports and Deutsche Bahn have shown that Cologne and the surrounding region are doing a good job of preparing for the months ahead.

Planning reliability and transparency for exhibitors and visitors

Without ever losing sight of the current situation, Koelnmesse is making preparations for a successful spoga+gafa. Should, however, the authorities require the event to be cancelled due to another wave of infection, which currently does not appear likely, Koelnmesse will fully reimburse the payments that exhibitors and visitors have made to it. If the trade fair has to be postponed for the same reason, Koelnmesse shall fully reimburse the payments of the exhibitors who cannot take part in the event on the new date. The trade fair partners will be notified of any trends at an early stage.

Even though spoga+gafa provides the sector with good opportunities to do great business, Koelnmesse, as the organizer of spoga+gafa, recognizes the need to give some market players additional support. Please let us know if you require assistance.

Dear exhibitors and visitors of spoga+gafa, we can assure you that we will conduct the trade fair in all of our interests and in a manner that takes account of everyone’s health and safety.

Let’s push-start your business together and enable the best possible opportunities for a successful sector restart.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact our spoga+gafa team.

We look forward to staying in touch with you. #gardenbackstronger

Your spoga+gafa team

Catja Caspary
Vice President
Trade Fair Management

Stefan Lohrberg
Director spoga+gafa

Koelnmesse GmbH
Messeplatz 1
50679 Köln, Germany

Update, 17.06.2020