10 questions with… Dr Rowena Arzt, director of exhibitions at WZF, organiser of Interzoo
1. Tell us about the history of Interzoo, and how the event has evolved over time?
Interzoo began in 1950 as an exhibition of goods on wallpaper tables during an association conference in Frankfurt-am-Main. This idea was so well received by the other members of the association that they planned the presentation of the goods again one year later. From then on, it became a permanent institution as the “Zoo-Börse”. As it became more and more international, the association WZF decided to give the event the new name “Interzoo”. Because the fair was getting bigger and bigger, the organiser decided to move Interzoo to Nuremberg in 1988. At the same time, Interzoo became an important communication platform, within the framework of which international associations such as the European Pet Organization (EPO), Ornamental Fish International (OFI) and International Pet Advisory Council (IPAC) hold their meetings. Today, it is the world’s largest trade fair for pet supplies, an important industry meeting place and, last but not least, a media event.
2. How will this year’s show compare to previous ones?
We have a strong supporting programme for an international audience, also a special stage for start-ups and innovative ideas. We are offering a new Interzoo App to make the visit as comfortable and efficient as possible. For that reason, we will also have a third entrance this time and elaborate hygienic measures.
3. How big is the show?
Interzoo 2022 is covering a gross exhibition area of some 105,000 square metres, and will host about 1,300 exhibitors from more than 60 countries in 12 halls. We have visitors from 110 countries registered to the show.
4. How international is the event?
There will be a strong international participation that will guarantee a global market overview, with more than 80% of exhibitors coming from outside Germany. The largest international contingents represent Italy, the UK, US, Netherlands and Spain. There will be a total of eleven national pavilions – some of them larger than before – from Brazil, the UK, India, Italy, Canada, Singapore, Taiwan, the Czech Republic and the US, with France and South Korea being new additions this year. At previous Interzoo events, more than a quarter of the visitors came from Germany and three-quarters from other countries – about 42% from other parts of Europe and a little over 30% from outside Europe. We expect the structure will be similar at Interzoo 2022.
5. What can UK visitors, in particular, expect to find of interest at this year’s show?
There will be a UK Pavilion and other national pavilions that may be of special interest. Also two start-up pavilions, our new Fresh Ideas Stage where innovative ideas will be presented, and much more. The special networking functions in the Interzoo App will provide them with interesting contacts.
6. What has been the impact of Covid and the lockdowns on Interzoo, and what special safety measures are in place this year?
Because of Covid, Interzoo 2020 had to be cancelled, substituted by Interzoo.digital in 2021. Since April 3, 2022, events in Nuremberg are no longer subject to official Corona requirements or access restrictions. Thus, on-site protective measures have been adapted to the current situation and continue to offer a safe framework with ventilation, increased cleaning intervals and disinfectant dispensers. General protective and hygienic measures remain recommended on a voluntary basis, in particular maintaining the minimum distance, wearing medical face masks as well as hand hygiene, precautionary and regular self-testing and coronavirus vaccination.
7. What other events and activities are taking place around the show?
This year, we have a very rich supporting programme on all exhibition days, starting even one day prior to the official opening with the Petfood Forum Europe, a cooperation with Watt Global Media. Further highlights will be among other presentations five Interzoo Country Sessions, a Sustainability and a Petfluencer session. New this year will be our already mentioned Fresh Ideas Stage where start-ups and innovative companies present fresh business ideas. Moreover, several international associations will hold their annual meetings at the occasion of Interzoo.
8. What, in your opinion, makes Interzoo unique, and makes it a “must-visit” show?
Interzoo is the biggest and most international trade fair for the pet industry. It brings exhibitors and visitors from all over the world and from all continents together in Nuremberg. Nowhere else do traders get a similarly comprehensive overview of what the global pet market has to offer. It is the place where the most topical industry subjects are discussed.
9. What do you see as the future of “in-person” events such as trade exhibitions?
After a time with mostly digital events, to re-experience a live event with all the senses is particularly the focus of trade fairs – as is the case at Interzoo. The physical meeting on site turns an event into a lasting experience that is more than the sum of its parts. Digital services offer added value but will not replace personal exchange and presentations at all.
10. Where do visitors go to get more information about exhibitors, products and attendance at Interzoo 2022?
We kindly advise to visit our website www.interzoo.com where visitors can get all the information you mentioned. In addition, we highly recommend to download the new Interzoo App that facilitates to connect the physical with the digital world. It supports the trade fair visit before, during and after the event with topical and important information about exhibitors, products or trademarks. There is an appointment scheduling and networking function, a personal trade fair planner, exhibitor search, a digital exchange of business cards and product information by QR code scanning and much more at your service. It can be downloaded in the usual app stores for Apple and Android.