The corona pandemic has certainly turned things upside down for many. Not least in the trade fair business. It makes you wonder where it all will end. All the forestry shows that were planned for 2020 that moved to 2021 – Will they go through with it in 2021? Nobody seems to know.

Elmia Wood moves from 2021 to 2022

As I have mentioned before, I used to work with Elmia Wood. From 2000 to 2012 I was in the team, partly as project manager. So, there is a small risk that this article turns out a little personal.

In a press release dated 3rd September 2020 Elmia writes:

“Elmia Wood is one of the most prominent forestry venues in the World. Due to the impact on travel and public gatherings following the Corona pandemic, Elmia AB has decided to move Elmia Wood to 2-4 June 2022.”

“The current situation is very difficult to analyze. Unfortunately, we have no other option than to postpone and focus on adapting to the new, worldwide situation. Large, international trade fairs require long time for planning and preparation, which has left us with no other option than to make the difficult decision to postpone Elmia Wood to 2022,” says Lotta Frenssen, CEO of Elmia AB.

Long history

I visited my first Elmia Wood show in 1979. The Elmia shows have been held on uneven years at least since 1975, maybe longer, when it moved out to the forest and became a demo fair (the very first one was in 1967, in the town of Jönköping.) Sometime during the 90’s the show grew to be the largest forestry trade fair in the World. The all-time high was in 2005 with 58 000 visitors during the four days in the forest.

“… one of the most prominent forestry venues …” Elmia calls it here above. Back then it was the most prominent forestry show. When you looked at the schedules for forestry shows in the World, very few took place in the Elmia years. Nobody wanted to compete with Elmia Wood – the Number 1 in the forest.

Elmia Wood

Elmia Wood 2017.
Photo: Elmia AB

What happened?

Of course it´s difficult to say. Times change and so does the markets. One of the reasons that Elmia Wood became so big and famous was that the technology for CTL (cut-to-length) had its origin up here. Sweden and Finland are still World leading suppliers of logging equipment for CTL logging. Back in the days, forestry people from all over the World came to the Elmia Wood shows to see the latest machines and the new inventions. Now, the Swedish and Finnish machines are all over the World. You don´t have to come here to see them. You can see them on your local show wherever you are.

Another nail in the coffin

The problems for Elmia Wood started already over a year before the corona/covid-19 pandemic. The Swedish machine supplier’s association (Maskinleverantörsföreningen) decided already in late 2018 to make their own forestry fair in 2021 on a horse racing track, and not participate at Elmia Wood that year. The association had successfully tried the concept twice with a construction machinery fair and now they will copy that for the forestry machines.

I don´t know exactly why this association decides to go their own way and leave the cooperation with Elmia Wood, I can only guess. But it seems that the communication between the parties has not been the best. Also, it´s obvious to me that Elmia has not been very active in the market lately. You don´t meet them on fairs or other forestry activities like before. When visiting fairs, I have been asked, by both journalists and exhibitors; Where are Elmia?

Is it yet another nail in the Elmia Wood coffin that we see now?

On the other hand

On the other hand, nobody knows what will happen next year. Will covid-19 go away? Not likely. Will it come under control? Maybe.

If the problems go on until next summer, and the fairs next year are forced to make changes again. Then, Elmia might end up as the winner. Maybe we will know in a year from now.

This will for sure not be the last article on this theme.