The 91st edition of Expo Riva Schuh, held Jan. 12-15, attracted about 13,000 visitors, roughly in line with the numbers registered a year earlier. The tally includes the visitors to the two main fairgrounds of the international trade show: the Gardabags show near Lake Garda, which was in its second edition, and the hotels in the town of Riva del Garda, which some brands continue to use to meet their clients.

Forty foreign delegates attended the fair with the support of the Italian trade agency, Ice. They came from France, Poland, Northern Europe, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary and Croatia.

Expo Riva Schuh on its own had 1,469 exhibitors, up from 1,448 one year ago, and 1,207 were from outside Italy, from a total of 39 countries. Chinese firms represented over a third of the total with 589 exhibitors, followed by Italy with 262 exhibitors and India with 137.

Ten trade associations or corporate groupings where present: Albicalados from Brazil, Apiccaps from Portugal, Assoprov and the Fashion Export Group from Italy, the British Footwear Association, the Council for Leather Exports from India, Fice from Spain, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and TDAP from Pakistan and Tunisia Export Cepex.

Giovanni Laezza, general manager of Riva del Garda Fierecongressi, the organizer of the show, stressed that the expansion of e-commerce and the use of social networks and bloggers have not weakened the importance of trade shows as was initially feared.

On the contrary, trade fairs have also become a meeting point for the new professions created around the internet. The traditional press conference held on the first day of the show was dedicated to the role that influencers play in the footwear sector.

Gardabags garnered 60 exhibitors, of which 33 were foreigners and 27 Italian, representing nine countries. The next editions of Expo Riva Schuh and Gardabags will take place from June 15 to 18.

Expo Riva Schuh Around the World, a program which is intended to promote the trade show abroad, will be held in Germany, Japan, Vietnam and Spain this year. The program started in South Africa in April 2017 and has since been organized in Sweden, Portugal, Poland and France.

Expo Riva Schuh is considering the introduction of new services such as training packages for companies and professional visitors.