The 95th edition of Expo Riva Schuh and the 6th edition of Gardabags attracted over 2,700 visitors from 79 different countries, confirming their international reach despite the travel limitations caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Buyers came from Europe, especially Italy, Germany, Poland, Spain, France and the Netherlands, as well as from Russia, North America and Taiwan.

Held at the exhibition center of the Italian town of Riva del Garda, Expo Riva Schuh is the leading international trade fair for the low and medium segments of the footwear market and is organized twice a year usually in June and January. Because of restrictions on trade shows, which were suspended until mid June in Italy because of the pandemic, Expo Riva Schuh was postponed this year and held on July 18-20. 

The number of exhibitors totaled 406, about a third of the trade show’s usual attendance, but nevertheless representing 31 countries. The event suffered from the absence of Chinese exhibitors, which are usually the largest delegation. Some Chinese companies were however represented by agents or partners. The trade show was complemented with a digital event called Digital Connection which started on June 13 and runs until Sept. 30. The digital platform also included an additional 122 exhibitors. 

The last summer edition of Expo Riva Schuh organized before the outbreak of the pandemic was held on June 15-18, 2019 and attracted more than 12,000 visitors from 111 countries, largely in line with the previous year. The trade show had 1,462 exhibitors, of which 266 were Italian and the rest foreign.

Despite its reduced numbers, this year’s fair obtained positive feedback from exhibitors. Imanol Martínez, marketing and international business development director of the Spanish footwear association Fice, said that the Spanish delegation was ”surprised” by the  level of contacts and orders made during the event. The Spaniards were present with 20 companies on site, about half the usual number, and a further seven online.

Haldun Sayi of Turkey’s Aegean Exporters’ Association (EİB) indicated that its delegation was “very pleased with the outcome, especially for the new contacts generated.” EIB was present with 11 companies.

The organizers, Riva del Garda Fierecongressi, confirmed that the next editions of Expo Riva Schuh and Gardabags will be held Jan. 15-18, 2022. Their organization will obviously be didacted by the evolution of the pandemic but they are expected to be complemented by a digital event that could indicatively start in November. They will also be influenced by the Chinese government’s decision regarding traveling abroad, which could remain restricted until the end of the year.