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LWF: Hike in LWF visitors

Published:  24 May, 2018

The number of visitors to the London Wine Fair (LWF) this year, the first with Hannah Tovey at the helm, jumped “significantly” compared to the previous year’s show.

As the much anticipated LWF 2018 embarked on its third and final day, Tovey told Harpers “everyone coming through the doors today (Wednesday), are additional visitors compared to 2017”.

“I am delighted with the already apparent rise in visitors but also particular pleased about feedback from people attending with several exhibitors at pain to share with me the new business deals they have made at the fair,” said Tovey, adding everyone had been excited by “the new energy in the room”.

With official data still to be analysed and released, its fair to say Tovey was in a buoyant mood, not just pleased with the uplift in visitors, but also the calibre of those attending and the popularity of the new zones introduced, which Tovey said had brought change and helped breathe new life into the fair.

“I knew the Innovation Zone (introduced in partnership with Harpers and sponsored by JF Hillebrand) would create interest and really capture people’s imagination, but the number of people attending the talks beat all our expectations, with 28 seats allocated but in excess of 200 showing up,” she said.

Interest in the Education Zone had also been “off the scale”, demonstrating the need for access to education within the wine industry, she added.

The Drinks Britannia Zone and Champagne Live had also both proven “big hits”, with all four zones set to return in 2019, said Tovey.

Looking ahead to next year’s fair, Tovey said nothing “screamed to be changed”, by admitted there was “always room for improvement”, with plans to increase the floor space to make room for the remaining “big lapsed exhibitors” she is hoping will return next year.

“This year saw the return of several lapsed exhibitors, including Boutinot, González Byass, Accolade Wines, Treasury Wine Estates and Morgenrot - some of which have not been present for several years, and I feel confident the changes we introduced for LWF 2018, particular the new zones and the Trading Quarter, will help attract the remaining big players still missing,” she said.

Many of the “missing players” had been shown around at the fair and had seemed “impressed and interested” in signing up for LWF 2019, she added.

Tovey took over from Ross Carter immediately after last year’s show.