19/05/2004 -- drupa 2004 has more than exceeded expectations. This was the unanimous verdict passed by exhibitor representatives, trade associations and Messe Düsseldorf on 19 May, as the print media fair drew to a close. Following the severe restraint of the last few years, the investment climate in the graphic arts industry has improved substantially. From the very first day of the fair, exhibitors reported numerous deals closed – in some cases, the successes topped those of the 2000 global boom. "drupa 2000 has gone down in memory as the millennial event – drupa 2004, however, has a more far-reaching significance for the entire industry. It has brought about the return of optimism and a sense of new departures in the international print media industry,” summarises Albrecht Bolza-Schünemann, drupa President and President and CEO of Koenig & Bauer.
Over 394,000 visitors from 122 countries, some 3,350 journalists of 82 nationalities and over 30,000 service staff for the stands made the trip to Düsseldorf between 6 and 19 May to take in 1,862 exhibitors' offerings and make investments. "In light of the prevailing economic conditions, this result was a wonderful surprise, even for us. After all, we couldn't expect to come within reach of the visitor numbers recorded in the 2000 boom (428,000). This outcome is all the more gratifying!” comments Werner Dornscheidt, President and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf, reviewing the 14-day print media event. As anticipated, international interest in drupa 2004 was high: 54 percent of all visitors came from abroad, compared with 47 percent in 2000. Of the international visitors, the 127,655 Europeans represented the largest contingent; next in size was the group of 42,552 Asian trade visitors (quota in 2004: 20 percent; in 2000: 9 percent).
Over one in four drupa visitors indicated an interest in packaging production and paper processing. With 294 exhibitors spread across 23,276 square metres, this was the third largest area at drupa 2004. As predicted, the strongest demand focused on print and the offerings of the 515 exhibitors in this area.
Manufacturers of machinery, equipment and plants for the printing and paper processing industries also gave their thumbs-up to the outcome of drupa 2004. "Visitor response in all segments of the printing and paper processing industry was strong,” confirmed Kai Büntemeyer, the new Chairman of the Fachverband Druck- und Papiertechnik im VDMA (specialised section for printing and paper equipment and supplies within the VDMA). "drupa has more than lived up to expectations.”
The Hauptverband Papier- und Kunststoffverarbeitung e. V. (Central Association for Paper and Plastics Converting – HPV), one of drupa's supporting organisations, was also satisfied with the outcome of the 2004 fair. Together with the Verband Deutscher Papierfabriken (German Pulp and Paper Association – VDP) the HPV presented the German paper industry in impressive style at a joint stand in Hall 8. Here, the numerous domestic and international visitors were able to clue themselves up on every link in the value chain, from raw materials through manufacturing and processing to the broad palette of papers and cardboards. The strength of visitor interest left no doubt that the materials paper and cardboard and their products have lost none of their significance or sustainability in the IT age.
Companies affiliated to the Verband der Druckfarbenindustrie (German Printing Ink Industry) have declared the fair's run a resounding success. Not only did visitor numbers, especially those from abroad, surpass expectations but notably the intensity and calibre of discussions with well-prepared visitors raised hopes of new business contacts. Printing inks for food papckaging, special-effect inks as well as UV inks attracted particular interest. Overall, the printing ink industry perceives the success of drupa's run as heralding an economic revitalisation of the graphic arts industry.
Paper manufacturers have taken a positive stance on drupa 2004. Compared to 2000, visitor numbers declined slightly. Asian visitors constitued a strong presence. "Our initial assessment gives us reason to smile, thanks to the quality of enquiries and specialist discussions as well as the warm reception given to the industry's palette of products,” says Klaus Windhagen, Director General of the VDP.
In line with the motto "after drupa is before drupa”, the course for drupa 2008 has already been set and the dates can be noted down: in Düsseldorf from 29 May to 11 June 2008.
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