TFWA’s Jaya Singh: “The show will go on”
During a press conference held September 1, 2021, TFWA President Jaya Singh confirmed in “one simple statement” that the show will indeed go on. “with the unanimous support of the management committee and most importantly pledges to attend from retailers both large and small, and we continue our preparations for Cannes with the aim of bringing our industry together at last,” he added.
The conference was upbeat, while Singh and those joining him for the conference — Donatienne de Fontaines-Guillaume, Vice-President Commercial and John Rimmer, Managing Director — addressed concerns, from whether delegates might not be able to enter the country to the safety of the event itself.
With the increase in COVID cases globally many in the industry have been wondering whether TFWA WE would in fact take place. While, with continued travel restrictions plus financial concerns for an industry that’s been all but halted the numbers are expected to be about 50% what they were in 2019, the event will continue to offer the “long-awaited opportunity to meet and do business and plan for 2022.”
Fontaines-Guillaume provided some figures. Close to 250 exhibitors are confirmed, with more still to finalize agreements. Exhibition floor space is 211,000 square meters. Exhibitors who are unable to come physically are seeking alternative solutions; this includes TFWA 365 but also the association is looking to arrange rooms and offices for those who might be able to attend for only a short time.
The rise in the fourth wave is once again affecting travel in and out of certain countries, and this could affect the ability for certain people and companies to physically take part at the event. Despite these uncertainties, Fontaines-Guillaume confirmed that the association is doing all it can to ensure all in the industry — regardless of location — can get the most out of the event.
Rimmer addressed travel and safety concerns, stating that the French government will be allowing fully vaccinated individuals without quarantine, while those coming from certain countries without vaccination must have a negative PCR test and pressing grounds for travel. We all know how these circumstances can change, so TFWA is staying on top of this communication.
At the Palais des Festivals, strict health measures are in place. At the entrance each morning delegates will show proof of vaccination or recent negative test, and rapid tests will be available at entry. Additionally, the Palais will have 24-hour medical concierge, and isolation facilities will be available.