From 16 to 19 September 2020, the international gardening and landscaping sector will once again gather in Nuremberg for the GaLaBau exhibition. Preparations for the 24th round of this leading international fair are in full swing. We spoke with Stefan Dittrich, Director Exhibitions at NürnbergMesse, who is responsible for GaLaBau, about the growth of the event and highlights that trade visitors can look forward to this year.
1. GaLaBau 2018 was an absolutely resounding success. It broke new records with 1,253 exhibitors and 72,005 trade visitors, up 12 percent compared with the previous event. How are the preparations going for the upcoming GaLaBau and what goals have you set yourself for 2020 and beyond?
Stefan Dittrich: “Our preparations are currently in full swing, and around six months ahead of the event we have already exceeded the exhibition area booked in 2018. So far, the number of registrations is very good! Naturally we do still have spots free for last-minute exhibitors. Overall it is fair to say that GaLaBau is making consistent progress in all segments, from construction and maintenance machinery to building materials and plants, and from recreational, playground and sports facilities to golf courses. It is this characteristic that sets GaLaBau apart and makes it so popular. Our ongoing investment in the internationalisation of the event is also producing results, and this is backed up by the figures. As things stand at present, Poland and the Czech Republic lead the way for growth in display area with increases of 52 and 39 percent respectively. When it comes to growth in exhibitor numbers, Austria (up 45 percent) and France (up 35 percent) currently have the highest numbers. So there is nothing standing in the way of our 2020 goal of increasing the display area. Another objective is to at least maintain the outstanding visitor record of GaLaBau 2018. Another very important aspect for us is encouraging the next generation. The “Innovation made in Germany” Pavilion for start-ups and innovative young companies is looking very promising for 2020. Compared with the same point in time in 2018, registration numbers are almost twice as high. Our long-term strategic goals are to further increase international participation and visitor numbers, while of course maintaining the same high standard for the event.”
2. What conceptual changes and trending topics can we look forward to at GaLaBau 2020?
Stefan Dittrich: “Increasing the number of halls to 14 at the 2018 event proved very popular, so we will definitely have 14 halls again. We can also announce that for the first time this year, GaLaBau will move out of Hall 3( and) into Hall 3C, our newest, ultra-modern hall. This outstanding structural design by Zaha Hadid Architects went into operation at the end of 2018 and offers a light-flooded venue with superlative energy efficiency standards. In general, the fantastic figures from the last round confirm that our trade fair concept has proven very effective and that we deserve our reputation as the leading fair for the design, construction and maintenance of urban, green and open spaces with a comprehensive product display in one place. Nevertheless we are of course constantly honing our concept and incorporating the latest industry trends. These include high-quality garden equipment, which will be given a stronger focus through our key product category “Private garden equipment, furniture and furnishings”. Digitalisation is also one of the topics currently dominating the sector and is therefore another subject that GaLaBau 2020 will be focusing on more closely. In respect of construction and maintenance machinery and utility vehicles, the key trends are battery technology and alternative drive systems, which will feature heavily at the exhibitor stands.”
3. What elements of the supporting programme can trade visitors look forward to in 2020?
Stefan Dittrich: “This brings us back once again to the topic of digitalisation, which we already mentioned. We are currently working on a special show about digitalisation at GaLaBau. It will include a forum to provide information on the appropriate tools of the trade and will feature best practice examples, workshops and table top exhibitions. Digitalisation will also come under the spotlight at the Bundesverband Garten-, Landschafts- und Sportplatzbau e.V. zone (BGL, German Association for Gardening, Landscaping and Sports Ground Construction). We are also currently planning an exhibitor-only forum, where exhibiting companies will have the opportunity to give presentations on a wide range of topics. A practical service for attendees, especially on Saturday, is the provision of childcare facilities on all four days of the event. Making it easier for parents to access childcare means they have more time for professional discussions.
4. Can we assume that the familiar and popular formats of recent years will still be making an appearance?
Stefan Dittrich: “Absolutely! Long-established popular outdoor attractions like the Landscape Gardener Cup in the exhibition centre park and the live demonstration zone for excavating and mowing in the Silbersee Park are now an indispensable part of GaLaBau. All visitor target groups will be sure to find something to their taste in our wide-ranging supporting programme, for example the GaLaBau Landscape Talks Forum, or the networking session ‘Dialogue with motorised equipment specialists’, the Arboriculture Live Zone with demonstrations and presentations on working safely, PPE and working methods in professional tree care, and the GaLaBau Camp for all trainees and newcomers to the sector. The various BGL awards ceremonies, including the ELCA Trend Award, will of course also be back in 2020. The Bund Deutscher Landschaftsarchitekten (bdla, Association of German Landscape Architects) will be hosting a half-day training course and specific theme days at its stand and will also showcase the winners of the German Landscape Architecture Prize 2019 in an exhibition for the first time. Other highlights of our supporting programme are the special show “The playground as a physical activity space” and the Jobs Board, a popular feature in this era of skilled personnel shortages. As you see, there’s plenty on offer yet again!”
5. At the last GaLaBau, the special display area Garden of Dreams was very popular. Will this be continuing?
Stefan Dittrich: “The Garden of Dreams area (Garten[T]Räume) will once again be a highlight of GaLaBau this year. On around 1,600 square metres in Hall 3A, the BGL (German Association for Gardening, Landscaping and Sports Ground Construction) will showcase the innovative strength of the gardening and landscaping sector and what it is also capable of doing with a view to climate and environmental protection. For example, a key topic will be the BGL initiative “Green in the City”. The message to be conveyed to visitors is that climate and environmental protection is only possible with living greenery and only with the help of landscape gardeners, because they protect the climate and the environment by virtue of their profession and their work with plants. Speaking of plants they will also take centre-stage in the front garden section of our Garden of Dreams display. Here too, the German Association for Gardening, Landscaping and Sports Ground Construction wants to show how a front garden with lots of greenery can provide an attractive living environment for people, animals and insects. Naturally, exhibit will also explore the current trends in private gardens and show how landscape gardeners are realising them to great effect. Once again, there will be high-quality examples of private garden designs to provide inspiration and ideas. Visitors can also benefit from the inclusion in this special show of the expert forum with presentations.”
6. As the organiser of GaLaBau, NürnbergMesse is also involved as a partner and sponsor in various gardening and landscaping congresses, awards and other formats throughout the year. What else is on the agenda before GaLaBau 2020?
Stefan Dittrich: “It is very important to us to also maintain a presence in the sector quite apart from our four-day trade fair. Partnerships and sponsoring are naturally an ideal way of doing this and benefit both parties involved. In April, for example, we will be one of the sponsors of the 2020 “Bewegungsplan” symposium (on the planning of play and exercise areas) hosted by Playground+Landscape Verlag GmbH. Then in June we will be a partner to the World Congress of Building Greening (Weltkongress GebäudeGrün) in Berlin, organised by the Bundesverband GebäudeGrün e.V. (BuGG, German Building Greening Association). Also in 2020, we will once again be sponsoring the bdla’s German Landscape Architecture Prize and will support the “Green City” foundation. In addition, we will be taking part in an exclusive survey designed to provide vision, information and conclusive answers to the key issues affecting trade and industry in the motorised equipment sector. And then of course the countdown to GaLaBau will start, so we can look forward to four exciting days of information-gathering and knowledge-sharing in September!”
Mr Dittrich, thank you for talking to us!