London wine fair in ‘extremely healthy position’ ahead of 40th anniversary

The London Wine Fair is in an “extremely healthy position” ahead of its 40th anniversary next year, with its visitor count rising 9% since 2017.

(Photo: Anthony Upton)

Around 516 exhibitors registered for the 39th annual London Wine Fair, an increase of 11% on last year, according to LWF.

However, despite seeing visitor numbers rise up to 14,250 in 2018, this year, 7% fewer guests walked through the doors.

Hannah Tovey, the trade show’s organiser, said the slight decrease in footfall this year came as a result of some guests having to pay for tickets for the first time this year, instead of registering for free as in previous years. “Implementing the charging strategy for some visitors also meant we expected a slight drop this year, something which our exhibitors were on board with. All the exhibitors I have spoken to over the last three days have sighted a better quality of visitor at their stand, with a smaller audience actually being better for doing meaningful business.”

Tovey stressed that the fair attracted a better “quality” of visitors thanks to the new measures.

“2019 was all about attracting a high-quality audience which built on last year’s strategy of delivering on higher numbers of visitors and a refreshed show.”

Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, said: ” “I felt like the numbers were down but that the quality was up. Our members who spoke to us at the show were very happy.”

Tovey added that there was a large rise in visitor numbers between 2017 and 2018, which meant that the fair could “more than withstand a fall in numbers this year.”

She added that the LWF’s team are in “an extremely healthy position in the lead up to next year’s 40th anniversary.”

“2020 will be all about delivering a very special edition of the London Wine Fair; the anniversary will be a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the very best of the U.K. drinks industry and we very much look forward to sharing our plans over the coming months.”

Looking ahead to 2020, Tovey told the drinks business earlier this month that there will be a number of new features at the fair next year, including a space dedicated to low and no-alcohol producers.

The 2020 London Wine Fair will take place at Olympia from 18th to 20th May.

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