Early figures for International Confex 2010, which took place at Earls Court last week, show an increase in visitors of two per cent on last year. Pre-ABC audited figures suggested the Earls Court show attracted 11,058 visitors, compared to 10,857 in 2009.
The show's committee is currently in a series of debrief meetings ahead of next year's event. Plans being mooted for next year include changing the stand closing time to 6pm but keeping networking opportunities open until 8pm.
"We're also considering moving the show out of its half-term slot in order to make it more accessible to our female market," said show portfolio director Duncan Reid.
Reid attributed the rise in visitors this year to "a strong educational programme, seminar package and networking opportunities". "Granted it's a rise of a few hundred people, but this is fairly significant in a year that has seen redundancies and restructures across the industry," he said.
Figures also indicated that exhibitors brought fewer staff to the show resulting in the overall total attendance figure falling by 3 per cent to 14,359 from 14,786 in 2009. Reid attributed this to a conscious decision by many exhibitors to allocate fewer staff on their stands this year, in wake of downsized teams across several sectors of the industry.
"More importantly, buyers were out in force and spending money," he added. "I think the industry can be a bit more optimistic about 2010, we certainly won't see 2007 or 2008 spending levels but the show has gone some way to re-energising and revitalising the industry".
Confex 2010 marked the launch of the show's inaugural hosted buyer programme that welcomed nearly 100 buyers from the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Sweden. Applications for the 2011 event are already underway.