Expo Riva Schuh has published stable attendance figures for the 82nd edition of its show, which took place near Italy's Lake Garda last month. At 10,806, the total number of visitors was practically the same as a year ago. Several exhibitors praised the high quality of the business and the contacts made at the fair.

The show declared again a full house with a total of 32,667 square meters rented out to 1,307 exhibitors, 976 of whom came from outside Italy. One of the novelties was a separate space for higher-end companies from China. Another new feature was a special lounge where exhibitors, visitors and representatives of the press could taste some of the local food and wine specialties.

After a brief absence from the fair, Geox set up its showroom again in the Hotel du Lac, but Josef Seibel pulled out of the fair, leaving its stand to Manas, which previously showed in a hotel. The number of Indian exhibitors increased to a record of 77 firms. The organizers of the Italian fair, who had previously cancelled its Indian session, usually held in New Delhi this month, have also taken off the calendar a workshop originally planned in Mumbai for July 3-4 due to insufficient interest.

Managers of Riva del Garda Fierecongressi, which organizes these and other trade shows, expressed confidence that they will be able to resist the “attack” from the GDS and its new sourcing exhibition, “tag it,” which will now start at the end of July in Düsseldorf. The real test will occur at the beginning of 2016, when the Düsseldorf shows will take place only three weeks after Expo Riva Schuh instead of a gap of two months as in the past. The next edition is scheduled for Jan. 10-13, 2015.

Riva del Garda hopes to hold its own by upgrading its fairgrounds, after many years of planning, discussions about alternative solutions and false promises. An official of the local government indicated at the press conference that it had approved a “pragmatic” project for the expansion of the existing fairgrounds whose first phase should be implemented in time for the January 2016 edition of the fair. Others indicated that it might take a few months longer for the final approval.

Based on the new project, 10,000 square meters would be added to the existing main building of Palafiere by expanding it on the left side and by adding an extra floor. An alternative project that would have allocated some extra space for temporary exhibitions in a new nearby sports hall has been dropped.

Expo Riva Schuh invited 12 American and 12 Russian buyers for the first time last month offering them food and lodging, with the Italian export promotion agency, Ice, funding their trip. The actual number of participants in the new program, which is similar to the hospitality program offered at TheMicam in Milan, was lower than planned, but the participants were positively impressed.