Interzoo and Coronavirus: Who’s going?

Interzoo is the greatest pet and aquatic trade show on Earth. I’ve been to every one in Nurnberg, Germany since 2006 and got to watch the Champions League final there as well as narrowly missing the Ash Cloud.

But this year is different. This year we have the threat of Coronavirus. Over the past couple of days I’ve seen it start to dawn on the aquatic trade too, and it’s been a hot topic in my places of work as well as with their trade customers.

Tens of thousands of people visit Interzoo from all over the world. Exhibitors come from dozens of countries too. And there lies the problem. The number of people in one place, from all over, shaking hands. Even kissing maybe.

The Chinese contingent is massive, and their stands have become more elaborate and intricate as the years have gone by. They’ve done well out of the aquatic pet trade and relied on by so many for manufacturing. But will they be there this year? Are they allowed? And to be brutally honest, who’s going to risk it? Italy is the same…

One company I spoke to said they didn’t want to risk sending their entire if small workforce there to work the stand. What happens if they all get isolated or quarantined there?

Another said it would be a wash out if it goes ahead at all, and that even the evenings would be different as the usuals wouldn’t be mixing and socialising like they once they did.

The word is that international reps are being told not to visit so many places. And today I saw reps shaking hands but reaching for the sanitiser. Sanitisers are going to run out.

But it’s not even as simple as not going as a visitor. What about the companies who are due to have stands there. Some don’t get change out of £100k. Some more. What happens to their money if the show is cancelled? What happens to the show itself? The Messe that it’s held in is Germany’s answer to the NEC. It must have huge events on a weekly basis, and France has just banned events over 5000 people.

According to the website it’s still going ahead for now, but who knows? I can’t see many Brits going now even if it goes ahead, but flights and hotels are still booked.

What are your thoughts?

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Jeremy Gay

Author of three fishkeeping books and lifelong fishkeeper. Experience includes editor of Practical Fishkeeping magazine, editor of Pet Product Marketing magazine, multi award- winning livestock manager and aquatic store manager.