Wednesday, December 6, 2023 THE SECRET OF 50 YEARS AND 100 SUCCESSFUL EDITIONS

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags presents its 100th edition to the Ministry of Enterprise and Made In Italy in Rome

It all starts with a question: how could Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags, such a long-lasting and successful event, possibly have come to be in Riva del Garda, a small Italian town in Trentino? An event capable of attracting people from  all over the world,  of generating such an impressive turnover and becoming a touchstone for international trade in the footwear and, today, also the accessories market.

Over its first 100 editions, the fair has hosted roughly 70,000 footwear collections. An underestimation, no doubt, because this assumes that at every edition, each exhibitor presented only one collection, which is known not to be  the case. It has welcomed some 500.000 visitors and, in the last 10 years, has convinced industry operators from at least 100 different countries to come to Riva del Garda, at each edition.
Today, about 80% of visitors come from Europe and a good 20% from non-European countries (a very high number compared to other events).

The question as to how these numbers were possible was answered by the top management of Riva del Garda Fierecongressi, the organiser of Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags, after the institutional speeches by Maurizio Montemagno, General  Director for Industrial Policy, Innovation and SMEs of the Ministry of Enterprise and Made in Italy (MIMIT) and Milena Del Grosso, Consumer Goods Office Manager ITA - Italian Trade Agency.

For the Chairman, Roberto Pellegrini, “in 100 editions, Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags has proven to be essential in preserving the competitiveness of Italian and European distribution channels. While Italy is no  longer a hub for mass production, we now have the opportunity to be – and remain – a leading hub for worldwide distribution: Riva del Garda is a place for international trade.”

Pellegrini then revealed the secret of the event's success: “It has always been an event capable of interpreting changes in the market, and accommodating them.”

Reflecting on the significant milestones of the fair over the last 50 years reveals a remarkable journey: bolstering the territorial value, fostering successful collaborations between public and private sectors, expanding into global markets and production,  restructuring managerial frameworks, and nurturing strong affiliations with production and distribution networks.

He was echoed by Director Alessandra Albarelli: "It is our internationality, superior to all other industry events, that makes us such an important crossroads for trade: on a global level, 2 out of every 3 pairs of shoes are bought in a country other  than the one where they were made.”

Being a successful event that promotes the Italian footwear and accessories market on a worldwide scale is also a responsibility. An event of this magnitude must strive to be sustainable in every respect, for the environment, people and the territory,  as Albarelli pointed out: "Waste recycling, sustainable mobility, greener stands are just some of the initiatives implemented in favour of the environment. Inclusivity, which is also achieved by digitalising the various  initiatives, is another crucial objective for us. Speaking of caring for people, worthy of mention is our collaboration with the Sole4Souls Charity Program and the initiatives of the National Consortium of Saints Crispin and Crispinian.”
Lastly, Albarelli spoke of the fair's positive impact on the Alto Garda region, generating a total economic value of around 29 million euros.

GianPaola Pedretti, Exhibition Manager, outlined how the more than 1,300 brands and visitors from more than 100 nations, who attend each January and June edition of the fair, would celebrate the 100th edition throughout 2024: "Our  now customary Innovation  Village Retail will be enhanced by a presentation of the key consumer trends in the new Highlights area. To mark the occasion, a special Celebration Night will be held,  during which our most loyal stakeholders will be awarded, and a short film, photo exhibition and monograph will also be presented.”

Even the exhibition’s lifeblood – exhibitors and buyers alike – did not want to miss the presentation of the 100 editions.
Lia Pittarello of Pittarello S.p.A., Paolo Villa of Villa Group and Bruno Conterno of Nice Footwear all gave their views on the fair: "A must-attend event for its international appeal, the opportunity to discuss important industry topics and  preview trends for the coming seasons. And, why not, it’s also a great location in which to catch up with partners and customers after the fair for a drink or a bite to eat, which isn’t always possible at big-city events.”

Rome, Decembre 6th 2023