Even the grey autumn weather in Bologna, a city of 390 000 inhabitants, could not dispel the upbeat mood that prevailed in the four halls of the exhibition centre reserved for Zoomark International in mid-November. Over 15 100 visitors were there, more than 30 per cent of them came from 82 different countries outside of Italy. Everyone was simply happy to be able to present themselves and their products to a high-calibre international audience. Three "days of freedom" for the pet supplies sector in Bologna was how Zoomark International appeared to the observer.
Work pays off
"We worked hard to organise this edition of the trade fair because we felt it was important to offer the sector an opportunity to meet following the long interlude due to the pandemic," explained a relieved Gianpiero Calzolari, president of Bologna Fiere, following the successful show. As the number of people infected with Covid-19 has been rising steeply again since October, it was not certain whether the work of the Zoomark organiser would actually pay off in the end. Added to this was the fact that many exhibitors from the USA and Asia, which were traditionally strongly represented in pre-coronavirus times in Bologna, were absent this year. Some of these cancelled their originally planned attendance at very short notice, although the gaps this caused in the exhibition halls were skilfully camouflaged by seating areas or plants so that they didn't appear conspicuous.
Among more than 450 exhibitors from 44 countries were many well-known companies from the pet sector with stands of their own. Most of them appeared delighted to be permitted to have direct contact with their customers once again and to become acquainted with potential new business partners. Even if leading Italian pet food manufacturers such as Monge and Farmina Pet Foods demonstrated with their imposing stands who the top dogs are in Italy, the trade show was thoroughly international. 60 per cent of the companies exhibiting came from outside Italy, with virtually all of the best-known European wholesalers and store chains being represented in Bologna. Stringent hygiene regulations, wide aisles in the fair halls and large distances between the individual stands were a prerequisite for ensuring that people could visit the show safely.