Messe Düsseldorf has confirmed that the edition of drupa rescheduled for spring 2021 has been cancelled, and will be replaced by a four-day virtual event.

drupa had been scheduled to take place earlier this year but was postponed and rescheduled for April 2021. A host of big-name equipment manufacturers then pulled their participation at the rearranged event, citing ongoing public health concerns as well as revised new product development cycles and marketing activities brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Messe Düsseldorf followed this by shortening the show to nine days and seeking to reassure the print industry about its health and safety protocols.

Erhard Wienkamp, COO at Messe Düsseldorf, commented, ‘The pandemic has caused a great deal of uncertainty among exhibitors and visitors in terms of their attendance at drupa 2021. Travel restrictions and budget constraints have further exacerbated the situation in the printing industry. We have taken this decision in consultation with our partners, who are entirely supportive of it. It was preceded by a detailed process of considering the current conditions and the needs of the industry.’

In place of an in-person event, Messe Düsseldorf will host the four-day ‘virtual.drupa’, running 20-23 April. This itself follows on from the online drupa preview concept that was introduced earlier this year. drupa will returnto Dusseldorf in 2024.

Sabine Geldermann, drupa director and project director, print technologies at Messe Düsseldorf, said, ‘Our primary goal remains to support the industry in any way we can to keep in contact at a national and international level, further develop their network and generate leads. To this end, we will be holding an interim event from 20-23 April, providing our exhibitors and visitors with an additional sales channel and allowing them to make reliable plans.’

Ms Geldermann has previously spoken to Digital Labels & Packaging about how print industry events of the future will be required to include a virtual offering as part of a hybrid concept.

Having previously confirmed his company’s intent to participate at a drupa in 2021, Claus Bolza-Schünemann, chairman at Koenig & Bauer, and also the current drupa president, commented, ‘A virtual event is exactly the right format in the current time. Attending drupa under the usual parameters was just too great a risk for many exhibitors, given declining export and turnover figures, as well as significant travel restrictions, which would also affect visitors. The new digital forum is a virtual platform, providing a reliable pillar and an opportunity to maintain valuable communications within the industry until 2024.’

drupa 2024 is scheduled for 28 May to 7 June, 2024.

Sister show interpack has also been pulled from the 2021 event calendar.