Last month's Expo Riva Schuh show brought in 10,711 visitors, a 5 percent increase from the June 2010 edition. The total number of exhibitors reached 1,211, or 150 more than one year ago, and they included 314 companies from Italy 847 from 39 other countries. Birkenstock was among the newcomers to the show, which is growing in importance as a pre-sampling fair as well as a re-ordering show.

The fair took up 32,072 square meters of space in Riva del Garda, up from 31,635 m² last January, and yet there are still some 80 companies on the waiting list to exhibit at the fair, which is literally bursting from the seams. There is still no final date for the modernization and expansion of the main fairgrounds, whose project has been revised.

The organizers believe that a positive atmosphere in the booths reflected a recovery in the footwear market, particularly in Germany, after a couple of tough years.

The event heads over to an emerging market from July 28-30, when Expo Riva Schuh India makes its debut in New Delhi. A “Top Fashion Area” at the new show will host the Italian Imac group and other Italian labels such as De Fonseca, Fabi, Fratesi, Giovanni Fabiani, Loriblù and Manas. Meetings and conferences will be held there on such themes as the global retail system, health and security, and fashion trends.

Riva del Garda Fierecongressi, which organizes both fairs and number of other shows and conventions, has decided to restructure their management. A team led by Carla Costa, who has had experience with other fair organizers in Italy before, is going to run both fairs after the planned departure of Brigitta Bancher next October.

Bancher, who is now 49 years old, is now considering setting up her own consultancy. She has spent seven years with Expo Riva Schuh, taking responsibility especially for marketing and international development. She previously worked for the Italian Trade Commission (ICE) in Taipei, and then for Anci, the Italian shoe industry association, in Hong Kong and Milan.

The next Expo Riva Schuh show will take place on Jan. 16-19, 2012. Couromoda, the big Brazilian show which takes place in São Paulo on similar dates, is trying to get the Italian fair to change its dates slightly.