With almost 237,000 visitors from over 100 countries and more than 1,500 exhibitors from 68 nations on 220,000 square metres in 16 exhibition halls, boot Düsseldorf made an impressive comeback, the organisers write.
After a corona-imposed two-year hiatus, the megashow was back on, and what a resurgence it was. After I landed on a morning flight, I jumped on the bus that went from the airport to the expo complex. The route went almost all around the complex in a clockwise fashion before we got to Eingang Nord, or the North entrance, which was my stop.
I’ve been attending some 16 Boot events and it never ceases to amaze me how ginormously huge this complex is. As the bus went around the perimeter, we were driving and driving past one big expo hall after another, there are 17 of them and the whole complex made me think of NASA’s or Boeing’s assembly plants.
The long walk from the North entrance, where the tram station is, to the dive hall
Once inside, it felt a bit slow as I went on a trek through halls 9, 10 and 11 to get to hall 12 where the diving section was located but initial impressions were deceiving. It was Tuesday morning after all and who goes to an expo at those hours if you have a day job to tend to? Unless, that is, part of your job is going to trade shows and conferences such as this one and meeting with the exhibitors and other industry professionals I came here to meet.
The show didn’t give any impression of being much smaller following the pandemic. Still, I noted that the exhibits in the diving hall were a bit more compact than in the years before the pandemic but still big and the hall was fully booked, with some latecomers spilling over into the adjacent hall 13.
Entering Hall 12, the Diving hall
The footfall was still quite limited as I began my meetings, which made it easier as I didn’t have to wait but could commence talks right away. And so it started. I went from one talk to the next meeting without any breaks all day as people were quite eager to talk and get some business going again. Old acquaintances kept coming down the aisles too and it was nice to catch up on everything and everybody.
I was also pleased to see how many of our long-time business contacts and clients had set up a presence, and that many new entities were also touting their services or goods.
During my conversations, I got a clear sense that many entities were still recovering from the economic ravages of the pandemic and contending with depleted financial reserves that must be rebuilt over the coming years. But that said, the mood was also upbeat and people were eager to get on with it.
Expos are always exhausting as you stand and walk on hard concrete floors all day, the lighting is harsh and the air is dry. Often, there is nowhere comfortable to retreat to and take a break during the long days at the expo.
Boot is no exception on this characterisation, but it has one huge redeeming factor. It lets loose in a major manner at the end of the day. The show technically closes at 1800hrs, yet it doesn’t really.
Because that is when the exhibitors get out their drinks and snacks, and crank up the music. Beer, wine or punches are generously handed out and everybody chills and socialises in front of various booths. I never stayed on very late so I don’t know how long the parties go on for, but the cloakroom stays open until 2300hrs.
Chilling in Taucher.Net's booth
At a glance, or to the outsider, the show might not have appeared all that different from previous years but I was busier than ever. It was a very productive show and one of the best in quite many years.
Did I spot any news in terms of new pieces of equipment or new destinations? Nothing much on either front, I am afraid, but a little here and there. Equipment manufacturers were still somewhat dogged by supply chain issues and derived knock-on effects and it appears likely that they were reducing R&D spending to save money while weathering out the pandemic.
“Despite the difficult general conditions, boot 2023 has written a success story. We would not have dreamt of this outcome. boot has finally reached calm waters and is once again firmly anchored in its Düsseldorf home port. The successful comeback has demonstrated that trade fairs ‘made in Düsseldorf’ have an international appeal,” stated Wolfram Diener, President and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf.