A 21.19 percent jump in foreign attendance at last month’s MICAM Shoevent, which held for the first time at the modern new Rho-Pero complex near Milan’s Malpensa Airport, led to an overall 16.3 percent rise in the number of registered visitors to a total of 41,799 people. The ambience was euphoric, with most of the exhibitors polled reporting excellent business at the show.

The total number of visitors from outside Italy rose to 19,399, coming close to half the total attendance. ANCI, the Italian shoe industry association, which organizes the Milan fair, said the largest contingents of foreign buyers came from Japan, Germany, France and the UK, followed by Russia, Spain, the USA and Greece. No other details could be obtained for the moment on the number of visitors from the individual countries or their comparisons with one year ago.

It is not sure whether MICAM will be able to match these scores next year, when it will take place two weeks after the GDS in Düsseldorf. Many of the overseas visitors who came to Milan had been at the Düsseldorf show a few days earlier.

Some of the visitors complained about the long distances that separate the new fairgrounds from the city, but the underground connection, which was finished a few days before the start of the show, seemed to work well. The new complex is huge. It was easier to navigate through the different halls than in the former fairgrounds. The extra surface allowed the MICAM fair to welcome 11.6 percent more exhibitors on 26.1 percent more space, but it covered less than half of the total surface of the modern and functional new exhibition center.

MICAM could be even bigger. About 300 Chinese companies are reportedly asking to participate, but the organizers are steadfastly refusing to let them in, in contrast with the GDS. The GDS fair clocked in fewer visitors than the Milan show last month. A total of 38,381 passages through the turnstiles were recorded during the four days of the fair, indicating a much lower number of registered visitors. The score was similar to that of last March, but it was nearly 4,000 less than one year ago.