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Published:  23 July, 2008

Show organisers Brintex are claiming the 2003 LIWSF was the most successful ever' with a 7% net increase in visitors bringing the total to 16,171. In contrast Vinexpo reported a 12.6% fall in visitors compared to 2001 (with 47,282 wine trade members making it to Bordeaux). But organisers insisted that the fall was welcomed by exhibitors' since generally visitors were of a higher calibre'. The key increases in visitors at the LIWSF came from importing markets, with German visitors up 29%, Switzerland up 23% and Ireland up 14%. The amount of on-trade visitors also increased (a key focus for the 2003 event) with 15% more visitors making the trip to ExCeL. However, the impact of the war in Iraq and financial difficulties for Californian producers appears to have affected visitors from the US, with overall numbers down 46%. Vinexpo itself had an effect on numbers, with the French contingent at ExCeL down 10%. At Vinexpo the majority of the missing visitors were French (down 15.8%) or from neighbouring European countries. In contrast to the LIWSF, it Germany showed the biggest fall in numbers (down 25%). According to organisers this was due to an economic slowdown'. Sluggish economies in Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Belgium and the UK, together with a prolonged period of strike action in France, had an effect on visitor numbers to a lesser degree,' stated Vinexpo organisers.