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LWF introduces charges for attendees in 2019

Published:  28 January, 2019

The London Wine Fair (LWF) will begin charging for tickets in 2019, a change it says will “benefit exhibitors and underline the value of attending the show”.

Members of the trade who will be charged include importers (but not buyers) who don't exhibit and who are considered competition to companies who do.

It said the “vast majority of visitors will be unaffected” and that members of the trade who no longer qualify for a free badge will be notified in early February.

Four free ‘badges’ will be available. A ‘buyer badge’ for those with a buying responsibility in the on-trade and off-trade and buyers for importers (UK and international). An ‘LWF Guest badge’ for on or off-trade staff; Masters of Wine; Master Sommeliers; Association of Wine Educators; marketeers; and publishers (including members of the trade who are on a career path within the wine industry and would particularly benefit from features such as the Education Zone, and non-exhibitors who are invited as speakers, or to collect awards).

There will also be an ‘Exhibitor Guest badge’ for visitors invited by exhibitors and sponsors for specific meetings and activities and a ‘Press badge’ for active drinks writers.

Members of the trade who do not fall into the above categories or do not register in advance will be charged £60 for one day or £120 for all three days.

Hannah Tovey, head of LWF, said the "decision to charge a small section of visitors is something we have considered very carefully, and we feel it is the right thing to do.

“We have listened to our exhibitors – particularly the U.K. agents – who feel their significant investment in the show is being undermined when other non-exhibiting agents subsequently attend – often en masse – with the specific intention of doing business or benefitting from the valuable, high-level networking opportunities.

“I want to stress that all members of the trade are welcome, and we are not introducing this charge as a deterrent; rather, it is about protecting our exhibitors and their investment and underlining the inherent value of attending the show. In the context of rising venue and supplier costs it represents the most even-handed way to continue with a more sustainable and equitable LWF for the whole trade to benefit from. U.K. importers or agents not exhibiting but legitimately attending in a buying capacity, will be most welcome and offered a free pass as our guests.

“As a Corporate Partner of The Benevolent we are delighted to have agreed with them that 10% of all ticket revenue will be donated to the charity as part of our ongoing partnership with this vital industry life line.”

Last year, 14,250 people attended the show at Kensington Olympia over three days, up from 11,828 the year before, a rise of 17%. The 2019 London Wine Fair will take place at the same venue between 20 and 22 May.

In December, the LWF signed up as a bronze Corporate Patron of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust as part of a new partnership to push education.