Paperworld Middle East 2020 Kicks-Off its Virtual Debut
Paperworld Middle East, the region’s dedicated trade fair for stationery, paper, gifts, school and office supplies, has kick-started its virtual event today, after receiving wide support from exhibitors eager to get business back on track after a slow first half of the year due to covid-19.
The 10th edition of the annual three-day event in Dubai was originally scheduled to take place in March 2020, but was called off a week ahead of opening as the novel coronavirus forced countries across the globe to abruptly shutter their borders and impose nationwide lock-downs.
Paperworld Middle East’s organiser Messe Frankfurt Middle East moved the event’s new dates to 2-4 March 2021 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, but before that, an abbreviated virtual show is taking place over two days online from 8-9 September 2020.
Ali Akbar, Paperworld Middle East’s show director, said while it cannot replace the benefits of meeting face to face, the online platform will offer customers a new form of business networking as schools, retailers, and offices look to make new orders and replenish supplies.
“We wanted to offer our valued customers an alternative stage to do business in the absence of meeting face to face, and so next month, we’re presenting the Middle East’s first digital trade fair dedicated to paper, stationery, art, crafts and office supplies,” said Mr. Akbar.
“We’ve signed on 35 launch partner brands for this digital edition, many of which will enter the Middle East and African market for the first time, and we intend to have 50-plus exhibitors on-board in the coming weeks.”
Akbar said exhibitors can design their own virtual stand, host live webinars, upload their product portfolios, create order forms and receive specific enquiries directly from potential customers.
He added: “Importers and exporters from across the region, specialist stores, back-to-school purchasers, government departments, and event companies will be among thousands of virtual trade buyers that can interact with important suppliers showcasing numerous products and services, all from the comfort of their home or office.”
Legatoria La Carta from Italy is among the 35 launch partners for Paperworld Middle East 2020’s virtual edition. The Florence-based company produces high-quality stationery accessories, guest books and sketchbooks, along with its unique marbled paper products.
Managing Director Arielle Bénozio said the online showcase next month is an important first step in a new market for Legatoria La Carta, however the quality of the brand’s product range can only really be fully understood in person.
“I am a strong believer in the importance of meeting customers face to face to show them the quality of our products which are handmade and need to be touched and looked at in ‘real life’,” said Ms. Bénozio, whose handmade marbled paper products offer a more modern touch on what is known as a Florence specialty.
“The opportunity to test the Middle East market with a virtual fair seems a good way to present our products to potential new customers. To have a ‘virtual display window’ in a new geographical area will help us create contacts and make our brand become more visible, but I’m aware that this won’t be enough without participation at the show’s 2021 edition, which is why we plan to exhibit in Dubai next March.”
Spanish manufacturer CyP Brands is another European supplier keen to test the Middle East market in September 2020, and will present its range of licensed and non-licensed stationery, back to school items, gifts and toys.
CyP Brands’ Managing Director Almudena Cerezo said the virtual trade fair “seems a good alternative to touch base, introduce ourselves and make our first professional contacts in a new market.
“We’ve participated in many physical trade fairs, but this is the first time we’re going to be part of a virtual trade fair. We’re curious about the scope, functioning and results of this new format, and we’re looking forward to our participation.
“It’s our intention to also exhibit at Paperworld Middle East in March 2021, depending on the covid-19 evolution over the next few months as well as on the results of the online event,” added Mr. Cerezo.
Meanwhile, the 10th edition of Paperworld Middle East March 2021 will be co-located for the first time with Gifts & Lifestyle Middle East, the region’s premier trade fair showcasing mid to high-end consumer goods, oriented toward the giving and dining segments. Together, the two exhibitions are expected to feature nearly 300 exhibitors from 42 countries.
Returning features next year include Playworld Village stacked with children’s toys and games; the Wrap Star gift wrapping competition; the Green Room for sustainable stationery and office supplies; and a three-day seminar programme ensuring industry professionals are kept up-to-date with the latest Middle East trends.
A dedicated Remanexpo Pavilion will meanwhile present thousands of Middle East and African trade buyers with the entire range of remanufactured printer consumables, IT accessories, OEM and aftermarket printer supplies, computer hardware and software.