SALTEX 2021: “We’re ready to go!”

SALTEX 2021: “We’re ready to go!”: After the government’s recent announcement, it appears that the grounds management industry can finally start looking forward to celebrating SALTEX’s 75th anniversary, which takes place on 3 and 4 November at the NEC, Birmingham.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed the UK’s roadmap out of lockdown, and it is good news for the grounds management industry’s premier show. Most restrictions on events taking place could be lifted by 21 June and some may even be permitted to go ahead with restricted capacities from 17 May.

SALTEX 2021: “We’re ready to go!”

SALTEX 2021: “We’re ready to go!”

“We are very excited about the outlook for the show in November,” said GMA CEO Geoff Webb. “As Boris said, there is indeed light ahead, and with many suffering from ‘Zoom’ and online fatigue, there is more than ever, a real appetite for human interaction.”

The Prime Minister’s announcement certainly seems to have raised spirits in the industry. Since the roadmap was revealed the GMA has reported an influx of new business and enquiries from companies eager to have a presence at SALTEX and several stand upgrades from existing exhibitors.

“It is very encouraging and we’re ready to go,” continued Geoff. “The support from the industry has been overwhelming and I’d like to thank our exhibitors for their patience and for sticking by us as we transferred from 2020 to 2021.

“We are an industry which loathes to stand still, and I think the restrictions have shown that we are missing meeting people; that businesses are keen to see their customers in person again and that they are missing that trade and general conversation. Ultimately, it has amplified the power and the benefits of live events.

“There could be more twists and turns to come and we will remain diligent and prepared. The safety of everyone attending is our main priority, so we will continue to follow the guidance and implement the necessary procedures, if needed in November.”

Spirits are also riding high after the hugely successful #GroundsWeek united every corner of the grounds management industry. The GMA’s campaign was the first-ever celebratory week which highlighted the vital role of grounds staff, volunteers, and the role that the broader turf-care sector plays in making sport possible and keeping green spaces accessible. The #GroundsWeek campaign saw a veritable social media blitz for seven days straight as manufacturers, workers, media and high-profile sports clubs, stadia and sports persons publicly showed their support for the initiative.

The positivity is set to continue over the coming months, as the SALTEX team announces more details about what is in store for the 75th anniversary. From exhibitors, products, speakers, demonstrations, the Innovation of the Year Award, new features, prizes and much, much more.

“We’re putting absolutely everything into the show, and we can’t wait to celebrate this landmark occasion with you all.

“I am sure that SALTEX 2021 will show us at our finest. SALTEX promises to showcase the talent in our industry and the changes and the new directions that we can anticipate,” concluded Geoff.

For more information visit www.gmasaltex.co.uk

To view further industry support and quotes visit – https://www.gmasaltex.co.uk/industry-shows-support-quotes-for-new-saltex-dates/

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BIGGA announces Festival of Turf dates

BIGGA announces Festival of Turf dates: The British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association has confirmed that its first Festival of Turf will take place this summer, with a new date intended to provide an improved experience for attendees and exhibitors.

The Festival of Turf is a two-day event that will take place in the predominantly outdoor setting of the Warwickshire Event Centre and will bring together golf greenkeepers, groundsmen and many others for the first time since BTME 2020, over 18 months previously.

BIGGA announces Festival of Turf dates

BIGGA announces Festival of Turf dates

BIGGA had initially announced a June date for the Festival of Turf and was confident event could be hosted with COVID-safety measures in place. But with the Prime Minister recently announcing the Roadmap out of lockdown, BIGGA has explored the opportunity of rescheduling the Festival of Turf for later in the summer, when social distancing restrictions are anticipated to have been removed.

As such, BIGGA is delighted to reveal that the Festival of Turf will now take place on 21 & 22 July 2021.

The Festival of Turf will welcome BIGGA members and others in the turf industry to the 30-acre Warwickshire Event Centre, with a wide range of vendors and trade stalls and entertaining twists that bring to life the ‘festival’ element of the event.

COVID-safety measures will remain in place, such as enhanced cleaning regimes and hand sanitising, plus any other requirements as defined by government guidelines. However, limits on visitor numbers and social distancing measures will no longer be required.

BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton said: “The Roadmap out of lockdown announced by the Prime Minister provided incredibly welcome news for the country and the association’s members, not least because it provided a date for the reopening of golf courses in England and a potential return to normality for us all. It also presented an opportunity for BIGGA to host the Festival of Turf as the spectacular of sports and amenity turf maintenance that we had hoped for when we first announced this event last year.

“We entered into negotiations with the Warwickshire Event Centre and were delighted to come to an arrangement with regards new dates for the Festival of 21 & 22 July. On this date England is anticipated to be at Step 4 of the COVID-19 roadmap, which will see legal limits on social contact removed. Although the published roadmap only serves as a guideline and the timings are subject to change, everyone at BIGGA is excited about the opportunity to provide an improved exhibition experience for our attendees.

“We always intended the Festival of Turf to be an opportunity for BIGGA members and their colleagues in the turf industry to reunite after so long apart and I’m delighted that these new dates will allow even more people to attend what promises to be a fantastic few days of exhibitions and entertainment.”

For more information about the Festival of Turf, head to the BIGGA website.

Keep up to date with the latest announcements and updates on Twitter by using the hashtag #FestivalofTurf

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BIGGA unveils new outdoor festival

BIGGA unveils new outdoor festival: The British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association has unveiled a brand new outdoor festival and exhibition, taking place in June 2021.

The event, called the Festival of Turf, will bring together the greenkeeping and turf management industry for two days of innovation, exhibition and entertainment.

BIGGA unveils new outdoor festival

BIGGA unveils new outdoor festival

Taking place in the COVID-secure setting of the Warwickshire Event Centre on 8 & 9 June 2021, the Festival of Turf will feature two full exhibition days with a wide range of trade stalls and opportunities to interact with vendors and meet face-to-face with industry peers for the first time since before the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

The Warwickshire Event Centre is located on the outskirts of Leamington Spa, close to Coventry. Centrally-located, the venue enjoys easy access to all transport networks, along with 2,000 free parking spaces.

The Warwickshire Event Centre can accommodate up to 200 exhibitors and is capable of welcoming 3,000 visitors a day through its doors. Set in a 30-acre site with both indoor and outdoor exhibition areas, the venue provides countless opportunities to make the Festival of Turf an innovative and exciting new event for the greenkeeping and amenity turf management industry.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic BIGGA has been in regular conversation with regulators, golf’s governing bodies and central government and there is widespread confidence that a successful event can take place in June 2021. Importantly, there is also a keen desire among commercial partners and industry professionals to provide an event that enables the industry to move forward and begin the process of rebuilding so many key relationships that have been eroded through the distance imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

BTME, BIGGA’s annual trade exhibition that was due to be held in January 2021, has been cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the Association remains proud that the event’s spiritual home, the Harrogate Convention Centre, continues to be utilised as an NHS Nightingale Hospital.

BIGGA’s world-renowned education programme, Continue to Learn, has moved to an entirely-online format and will be held across two weeks during January 2021. More information can be found on the BIGGA website.

BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton said: “I’m excited that BIGGA is finally able to launch the Festival of Turf to the industry and bring some much-needed hope for a brighter future. The Festival of Turf is a hugely welcome opportunity to reunite our industry, which will have been forcibly separated by the global pandemic for nearly 18 months by the time this event takes place.

“The industry has survived brilliantly despite all the challenges it has faced, due in no small part to the resilience and adaptability of BIGGA members and the network of commercial partners and who have supported us all throughout the pandemic. There has been a clear groundswell of opinion that members, other turf professionals and commercial supporters want the opportunity to celebrate our achievements and put this whole terrible ordeal behind us – and that’s where the Festival of Turf comes in. The event will be an opportunity to reconnect at a time when personal connections have never been more vital.”

For more information about the Festival of Turf, head to the BIGGA website, www.bigga.co.uk

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SALTEX surveys offer encouraging feedback

SALTEX surveys offer encouraging feedback: The Grounds Management Association (GMA) has revealed its feedback from both the recent visitor and exhibitor surveys that influenced the decision to move SALTEX to November 2021.

Last month the GMA issued two surveys; one to every exhibitor that had signed-up to the 2020 event and one to every visitor – past and present. The aim was to gather industry feedback which could help plan for and shape the future of SALTEX.

SALTEX surveys offer encouraging feedback

SALTEX surveys offer encouraging feedback

When asked which type of show visitors would like to attend, respondents confirmed that, despite the rise in virtual events, nothing can quite replace human interaction as an indoor show proved to be the most popular choice for both 2021 and 2022.

Preferences for 2021

  • Indoor show – 86%
  • Outdoor show – 27%
  • Virtual show -18%

Preferences for 2022

  • Indoor – 91%
  • Outdoor – 33%
  • Virtual – 9%

A key question in the survey asked the best time of year to attend a trade show; November was the first option – followed by October.

  • November – 47%
  • October – 32%
  • February – 30%
  • September – 25%

Despite the pandemic it is clear that there remains an appetite for trade shows. Respondents were asked how confident they were on a scale of 0-10 (0 not likely at all, 10 extremely likely) in attending trade shows in the future. An overwhelming 73% voted 7 or above.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Geoff Webb, CEO of the GMA said: “Crucially, we wanted to listen to the industry and give them an opportunity to shape a show that is totally about them, and their needs. It also hugely supported our motivation to reschedule.

“We felt really encouraged by the research which pointed to a continuing demand for an indoor trade exhibition and it was also promising to see November as the preferred date.

There was a reason that we went from an outdoor Summer show to an indoor show, and I think these survey results underline the fact that SALTEX, in its current format, works for the sector.”

In addition to a core audience of regular visitors, SALTEX continues to attract new first-time visitors. An encouraging 34% visited SALTEX for the first time in 2019 compared to 28% in 2018, 27% in 2017, 26% in 2016 and 23% in 2015.

SALTEX is appealing more to the younger generation in the industry too, which is further supported by the GMA’s wider range of activities. There was an increase of 6% in visitors aged between 16-30 at SALTEX 2019.

Other notable increases have seen a rise in landscapers, local authorities and those working in junior, assistant and deputy positions.

For more information visit www.gmasaltex.co.uk

Follow SALTEX on Twitter @GMA_SALTEX and Facebook – www.facebook.com/GMASALTEX

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SALTEX moves to November 2021

SALTEX moves to November 2021: Due to mounting pressure from the global Coronavirus pandemic, the Grounds Management Association (GMA) regrettably announces that it has taken the decision to move SALTEX to 3-4 November 2021, from its planned Spring dates (3-4 March 2021).

The GMA has been strategically planning for every eventuality to ensure the exhibition is a bio-secure event, in partnership with the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) and internationally recognised professional events bodies, however ongoing Government restrictions and local and national lockdowns, as well as rising cases of Coronavirus have highlighted the immediate challenges to stage a successful event in March.

SALTEX moves to November 2021

SALTEX moves to November 2021

This decision has factored in recent analysis from both exhibitor and visitor surveys, as well as discussions with relevant parties. Organisers have been closely re-negotiating with the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), returning the exhibition to its original Autumn dateline.

When visitors were asked on date preferences to attend a trade event, November was the first option – followed by October and September. Exhibitors also echoed this, with 64% stating a preference to attend SALTEX in November 2021 due to latest news and restrictions. In addition, latest visitor research showed that an overwhelming majority (80%) stated that attending an indoor trade show was their number one preference.

In more usual circumstances, SALTEX brings over 9,000 visitors across two days with circa 400 brands exhibiting, and visitor attendance at the NEC has significantly grown year-on-year. The next show will be its 75th anniversary marking the longstanding contribution to the grounds sector.

Geoff Webb, CEO at the GMA commented: “As hard as this decision was to make, we knew it was important to act quickly and responsibly so we can begin looking to the future and stage a successful event once restrictions ease again. We have recently seen confidence eroding despite early optimism.

“Our recent surveys have given us excellent insight from both exhibitors and visitors, giving us evidence that reflects current circumstances so we can continue planning an event that best reflects the turf care sector’s requirements.

“The majority of our respondents expressed high confidence levels in attending indoor trade shows and we can see that there is still a huge appetite going forward – we are already looking ahead to what is required for what will be a milestone edition of SALTEX in November 2021.”

Exhibitors have the option to carry over their March 2021 booking to the November show at a preferential rate and retaining their stand location. There is also the added option to secure a 2-year SALTEX loyalty deal for those transferring their booking (for November 2021 and 2022), with improved benefits for GMA Corporate Plus members.

Alternatively, exhibitors due to showcase in March 2021 can apply for a full refund in writing. The GMA’s events team has contacted all exhibitors personally to discuss preferences, as well as payment terms and plans.

Geoff continues: “Despite the circumstances, and a future where Covid will always be present, we are really touched by the number of exhibitors that have expressed that they are on this journey with us and wish to be part of SALTEX at the next possible opportunity. We are determined to help contribute to the growth – and celebrate the sector – albeit at a later date in 2021.”

Luke Perry, Director of SALTEX and Events for the GMA added: “We have worked hard to reflect changing situations. We intend to maintain this regular, frequent communication going forward whilst continuing to analyse how our sector feels about events in general.”

All exhibitors with a confirmed stand have been informed directly and are being urged to contact the sales team at SALTEX@thegma.org.uk for any further queries.

For more information visit www.gmasaltex.co.uk

Follow SALTEX on Twitter @GMA_SALTEX and Facebook – www.facebook.com/GMASALTEX

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CMAE European Conference opens for registration

CMAE European Conference opens for registration: The 2020 European Conference on Club Management hosted by the Club Managers Association of European (CMAE) is today open for registration.

The virtual event takes place over three days from the 30th November to the 2nd December 2020 and uses online technology to create a delegate experience like never before.

CMAE European Conference opens for registration

CMAE European Conference opens for registration

The conference features an exciting line up of over 30 speakers, including 10 Certified Club Managers, who will all share their expertise on subjects relating to the 11 core competencies of club management, including Membership & Marketing, Interpersonal Skills, Facility Management, Food & Beverage, HR and Strategy.

The programme also includes an impressive line-up of keynote speakers.

GGA Partner’s Rob Hill will open up the event with a Governance session called “Measuring Leadership Success.” where he will suggest metrics for measuring leadership success in 2020 and beyond.

Former General Manager Andre Van Hall went blind and will talk about influencing change instead of being afraid of it.

Arnaldo Cocuzza CCM will talk about his fascinating story from being a successful club manager in Italy and President of CMAE, to then losing his job and starting his new life in the USA where he now finds himself at the exclusive Desert Mountain Club in Arizona.

Also joining the keynote line up is Vincent Phipps. Vincent is an keynote speaker, workshop facilitator and communication coach. Vincent is called The Attitude Amplifier due to his high energy, content rich material, and interactive presentation style. Vincent’s philosophy is, “If I can get you to laugh, I can get you to listen.  If I can get you to listen, I can help you amplify.”

The event uses video conferencing tools and branded online platforms creating space to connect with delegates, sponsors and educators from across the globe creating a unique learning and networking experience.

An early bird registration fee of £225 is available to those who book their place before September 30th. The standard fee of £295 will apply thereafter.

The event is open to CMAE members only and members of CMAA, CMAS, CMASA, CMHK, GMA, GMANZ

Full details and a link to register can be found at http://www.cmaeurope.org/news-events/conf2020

Link to YouTube video https://youtu.be/Dh7lo0r-svo 

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Safety first for employees, dealers and customers

Safety first for employees, dealers and customers: John Deere will not attend international trade shows in 2021.

In order to ensure the safety of customers and employees, John Deere has announced that it will not attend any international agricultural and turf trade shows in Europe and the CIS during the company’s 2021 fiscal year (1 November 2020 to 31 October 2021), as this would require extensive international travel. Instead, the company will use a new marketing mix of traditional and digital tools to deliver information to customers.

Safety first for employees, dealers and customers

Safety first for employees, dealers and customers

Events of the last few months have profoundly changed everyone’s working and social lives. The protection of people’s health and safety is now more critical than ever, while maintaining close contact with customers is still important to provide reliable services in these uncertain times.

“Farmers have done an excellent job in the emergency phase of COVID-19 to ensure food supplies. For that we wish to express our appreciation to all our customers,” said Denny Docherty, John Deere Vice President Sales & Marketing, Region 2. “The pandemic has changed the world and our industry is undergoing a period of great change too. This also applies to our marketing activities.”

The need for a new approach to communications with customers has therefore prompted John Deere to reduce its participation in trade fairs for the time being, and the company has decided not to exhibit at any international agricultural or turf show during the company’s next fiscal year, which ends on 31 October 2021.

John Deere’s key focus in 2021 will be the change in its operating model, to become a ‘smart industrial company’. As previously announced, Deere is moving towards being a production system-based organisation, in order to build a more customer driven and streamlined business. This is one of the biggest organisational restructurings in the company’s 183-year history, which requires a change of marketing approach and an extended focus on Precision Ag technologies.

“We are also expecting a major change in the exhibition landscape, driven by COVID-19 and digitalisation,” said Andreas Jess, John Deere Director Marketing, Region 2. “In the medium term, our company would welcome a new timetable to be implemented by the international trade fair organisations, to free up the show cycle across Europe. However, we will continue to support our John Deere dealers if they decide to participate in their local agricultural and turf shows, always based on the fact that the health and safety of both customers and dealers can be ensured.”

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SALTEX 2021 moves into next gear

SALTEX 2021 moves into next gear: Early indications for the 75th edition of SALTEX, which takes place at the NEC, Birmingham on 3 and 4 March 2021, are extremely positive following overwhelming industry support and the welcome news that exhibitions and events have been given the go ahead to restart from the start of October.

SALTEX has been serving the grounds management industry since 1938. Since then, the show has developed in stature and reputation and is now recognised as the industry’s showcase event creating opportunity for all who attend.

SALTEX 2021 moves into next gear

SALTEX 2021 moves into next gear

Geoff Webb, CEO of the Grounds Management Association, believes that the historic exhibition will be a huge first step towards the industry’s recovery.

“We believe that there comes a point where we lay the foundations for recovery and we of course want SALTEX in March to be a catalyst for this to showcase products, demonstrate the innovation this industry possesses, engage, network, renew acquaintances and generate new business for our exhibitors. In fact, we are making every provision to build assurance for a positive ‘return on investment’ for our exhibitors.”

As Geoff says, SALTEX is ‘the’ place to do business and the show’s independently audited year-on-year figures demonstrate the steady growth of SALTEX these past years.

At SALTEX 2019, the post-show survey revealed that 96 per cent of exhibitors generated new sales leads and 82 per cent took orders then and there on the show floor. The visitor survey further revealed that 79 per cent of SALTEX visitors had purchasing responsibility and 77 per cent had the ability to sign-off on amounts of more than £50,000. Therefore, it is no surprise, that SALTEX 2019 exhibitors are still reporting a high conversion rate from the leads they generated at last year’s show.

These figures have resulted in SALTEX 2021 witnessing a record-breaking loyalty period with over 75 per cent of exhibitors returning, including many stand upgrades and an influx of debut exhibitors.

The new Spring dates have not only been welcomed by exhibitors. A large proportion of visitors have voiced their support for the 2021 show with many claiming that they will be in the hunt for new products and services.

Take for example, Liverpool FC’s Senior Manager of Grounds Management – David Roberts, who revealed that he is looking forward to attending the show and will be exploring new solutions with his team.

“SALTEX provides an opportunity to see and meet manufacturers and to look at the products in the flesh. I always keep an open mind as to what we may need. As the show gets closer, we will be aware of specific problems we need to resolve and will then look for solutions at SALTEX.”

Lawn Care Legends – an online networking group consisting of over 5,000 landscapers and gardeners, are always out in full force at SALTEX, and founder John Ryan confirmed that the Legends will be attending the 2021 show.

“The Legends will be there, and we have some exciting plans for the show. SALTEX is a way to get a feel of what is coming to the marketplace and it helps you to adapt or evolve with the industry. We all use SALTEX as an opportunity to source new products and everyone is keen and eager to see what manufacturers have to offer.

“By March 2021, I think there will be a real energy to get going for the new season ahead and what better way to kick that off than by going to SALTEX.”

James Wright, Grounds & Gardens Team Leader at the University of Leeds, revealed that the new dates will be the perfect opportunity to purchase equipment in preparation for early maintenance programmes.

“Given the diverse range of exhibitors at SALTEX, myself and the team can see product innovations which may help inform purchasing decisions in the future.

“I believe the dates in March are an excellent time of year. You are able to look at products and potentially make purchases on products you could be using in 4/6 weeks’ time such as fertiliser or grass seed.  The new dates also enable you to arrange machinery demonstrations during the active growing season.”

All eyes now turn towards delivering a successful event with the potential protocols that may be in place as a direct result of Covid-19. SALTEX is in the safest and most professional of hands according to Geoff.

“The National Exhibition Centre (NEC) is one of the foremost venues in the UK and as such is at the heart of discussions as to how to run events safely and securely. The GMA has also taken advantage of its membership with the Association of Exhibition Organisers (AEO), who are closely working with the Events Owners Association (EOA), the Association of Event Venues (AEV), and the Event Suppliers and Services Association (ESSA) – which covers almost every facet of the events industry, looking at the impact of the pandemic globally, as well as the UK from an events management perspective. We’re very proud to have established these excellent working relationships and it has allowed us to learn from others, network, and input into the guidance now issued and being supported and used by Government.

“The events sector is holding some pilot exhibitions over the coming weeks to detail the best procedures to ensure exhibitions are the best possible environments for staff, exhibitors, and visitors alike. Learning from these pilots will be addressed. In the meantime, we are currently mapping out several scenarios based on restrictions that may be in place in Spring 2021, so the event runs safely and efficiently, while creating a positive experience for both visitors and exhibitors.

“We have a very experienced team, who with the NEC, I am confident can stage a safe and successful event in the Spring next year.”

For more information visit www.gmasaltex.co.uk

Follow SALTEX on Twitter @GMA_SALTEX and Facebook – www.facebook.com/GMASALTEX

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BIGGA BTME cancelled for 2021

BIGGA cancelled for 2021: The turf industry’s premier annual gathering, the BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition (BTME), will not take place in January 2021 as anticipated, with an alternative ‘festival of turf’ planned for summer 2021.

The event’s organisers, the British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association, has cancelled the popular trade exhibition due to the ongoing uncertainty relating to the coronavirus pandemic, having prioritised the health and wellbeing of its members, exhibitors, staff and other attendees.

BIGGA cancelled for 2021

BIGGA cancelled for 2021

The decision was taken following consultation with members of the association and regular dialogue with representatives of the Harrogate Convention Centre and other major stakeholders. It was agreed the hosting of a gathering of turf professionals from across the globe would create an unacceptable risk of infection, potentially putting lives at risk.

BIGGA’s world-leading education programme, Continue to Learn, is held alongside BTME each year and will still take place during January 2021, albeit as an online event and with an altered timetable designed to reflect the new digital platform. A full programme of speakers will enable BIGGA members to access the world class education they have come to expect from the comfort of home or at their place of employment.

The announcement of an alternative event in summer 2021 will enable BIGGA to explore options for hosting the event outdoors, which current understanding of the infectious disease indicates will make for a safe event and will allow improved social distancing measures to be implemented. It is hoped that many of the exhibitors who had signed up for BTME 2021 will support this cost-effective event and BIGGA will be liaising with exhibitors over the coming weeks to discuss the opportunities it presents.

The Harrogate Convention Centre, home to BTME since its inauguration as the European Turf Management Exhibition (ETME) in 1989, has been utilised as an NHS Nightingale Hospital since the peak of the outbreak in April and BIGGA is incredibly proud to be associated with a venue that has been transformed to enable the treatment of COVID-19 patients, should the need arise.

However, the alteration of dates will require a new venue to be found and discussions are underway with potential event hosts. Details will be released in due course.

It is anticipated that BTME will return to the Harrogate Convention Centre in January 2022.

BIGGA Chief Executive Jim Croxton said: “The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has sent shockwaves across our industry and BIGGA members have worked admirably in difficult circumstances to enable the continuing success of the facilities they maintain. The work they are doing in a safe and socially-distanced manner is admirable and has undoubtedly led to an increased confidence in golf as a safe pastime during these uncertain times.

“With member health and wellbeing being BIGGA’s absolute priority, it was immediately clear that to invite thousands of turf professionals from across the globe to attend an exhibition during a season when there is anticipated to be an increased risk of disease transmission would be negligent and expose attendees to undue risk.

“BIGGA considers it important to host an annual event and BTME plays a vital role in the calendar year for the turf industry. BTME is an opportunity to come together to celebrate the achievements of the previous year, while building new contacts and looking forward to the future. We feel it is important to retain this community spirit where possible, especially considering the hardships we have all faced, and so we are exploring the possibility of hosting a safe and accessible alternative event in summer 2021. I’m excited about the possibilities presented by this and am confident our new ‘festival of turf’ will be as exciting and influential as ever.”

BIGGA Head of Member Development Sami Strutt is responsible for the organisation of Continue to Learn, working with members to develop an engaging and relevant education programme each year.

Sami said: “Although the association will have no physical presence in Harrogate during January, we will be hosting Continue to Learn as a digital event and I’m certain the spirit of Harrogate week will be as strong as ever before.

“We have engaged with BIGGA members through our annual Members’ Choice survey and are in the process of building an incredible series of online learning that will enable BIGGA members to continue their professional development, wherever in the world they may be.”

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SALTEX 2021 integral to industry’s recovery

SALTEX 2021 integral to industry’s recovery: SALTEX and Events Director, Luke Perry, believes that SALTEX 2021 will provide a huge opportunity for the grounds management industry to regroup, reunite and celebrate. 

Luke Perry was appointed by the Grounds Management Association as SALTEX and Events Director just six weeks before the 2019 event.

SALTEX 2021 integral to industry’s recovery

SALTEX 2021 integral to industry’s recovery

“I was blown away by the exhibition,” he said. “I’ve been involved with so many trade events and I have never seen such an opening to a show. Before the doors had opened the queue was stretching down to the NEC atrium and it really hit home just how passionate people are about SALTEX. It was inspiring.”

Luke’s words are high praise indeed from someone who has worked on some of the UK’s most prestigious exhibitions. He has been immersed in the events industry for over 20 years and has worked across a diverse portfolio of shows which include the likes of BBC Countryfile Live, The British International Motor Show, Autosport International and several specialist events in the hospitality industry.

Enthused by his first taste of SALTEX, Luke was straight to work on preparations for the show’s 75th anniversary, spearheading the team of organisers in co-ordinating the strategy and making sure the event delivers on all fronts. “Putting on a two-day show is an enormous amount of work – it really is a 365-day project, but I wouldn’t have been in the events industry for so long if I didn’t love what I do,” he said.

Luke is looking forward to making his mark on SALTEX’s 75th anniversary but will have to wait a little longer than originally planned, following the announcement that the show has been postponed from November 2020 to Spring 2021.

“It was an incredibly difficult decision to make, but absolutely the correct one,” he said. “I think the feedback and support from the industry certainly is testament to this.

“We’ve had a fantastic response from exhibitors with many claiming that it will provide them with enough time to recover and plan effectively. In fact, many have suggested that Spring is actually a better time of year and that echoes the same feedback we have had from visitors. With such an unprecedented year ahead, we’re planning more than ever behind the scenes to make sure it hits the right mark.”

Luke candidly admits that show preparations are somewhat different to the usual event planning he is accustomed to. Naturally, there is still uncertainty and questions arising as to how large gatherings and exhibitions will be delivered.

“The honest answer is that we do not have all the answers yet, but we do have time on our side,” he said. “Our main priority is to put the safety of everyone connected with SALTEX above all else – and this is one of the reasons why the show was postponed.

“Nonetheless, we are working around the clock and planning for every eventuality. Part of this planning involves ensuring that we can deliver a show in which people can assemble and interact with a real awareness of the need to maintain safe practices. Should guidelines or restrictions still be necessary in March, we are working hard to ensure the show remains a brilliant and valuable experience for exhibitors and visitors. All we can do is take it step-by-step and ensure that we are prepared for each part of the journey.”

“After an extended period of isolation, there will be a real appetite for SALTEX. All signs are pointing towards an incredibly busy and vibrant show and we’re planning to deliver exactly that.”

SALTEX 2019 saw a record-breaking attendance of 9,104. The show also received a huge number of first-time attendees, an increase in younger visitors and the international audience grew significantly. Once again, SALTEX proved to be the industry’s showcase event in the UK, but Luke has his sights set even higher.

“I think we’ve got a great standing; a great pedigree and a history of success. Britain is a global leader in grounds management – SALTEX reflects that and has the opportunity to be the biggest and best in the world.

“As the GMA is a member organisation, it’s extremely close to the ground (excuse the pun) to the issues that matter most across the sector, at all levels. We’ve spent a lot of time listening to the industry and, in response, have quickly developed and issued essential Covid-19 resources. After this difficult period, I believe that SALTEX will play an integral role to helping the industry network, collaborate and continue to support one another more than ever before.”

SALTEX will take place on 3 and 4 March 2021 at the NEC, Birmingham.

For more information visit www.gmasaltex.co.uk

Follow SALTEX on Twitter @GMA_SALTEX and Facebook – www.facebook.com/GMASALTEX

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