“Expo Riva Schuh, a showcase without equal”Roberto Pellegrini, President of Riva del Garda Fiere e Congressi for the last 10 years

Jun 30, 2017
Posted in: , Fairs & Events , Interviews

Roberto Pellegrini has been the President of Riva del Garda Fiere Congressi Spa for ten years now.

A prestigious role that has seen him play an important part in the economic, social, congressional, and trade fair activities concerning not only the Trentino city, but also all the Region.

The “pride and joy” of the President has been his role at the head of Expo Riva Schuh, the most important trade fair worldwide for volume footwear.

At a distance of ten years from his nomination as President, we would like to know what this “special” moment has represented in the past and currently represents for him and for the entire Trentino footwear-manufacturing world.

Your entry into the world of footwear was characterized by an extremely cautious approach: what were your first impressions?

The world of volume footwear is an extremely complex reality, with protagonists of an international level. Standing out among them in particular is Asian production, representing 80% of this segment’s producers and covering the market’s entire product range. Nevertheless, there’s a lot more to it than this: the footwear industry, in fact, is in constant evolution and, in order to be successful, as with the case of Expo Riva Schuh, there is a need to constantly invest in research, while monitoring the many signals, including the small ones, which define future trends and above all new emerging markets that can become top players.

Expo Riva Schuh is a fair without equal on the trade fair panorama. To what does it owe this success?   

Expo Riva Schuh is a showcase without equal, which has shown itself capable of adapting to new needs in the market, thanks to its great research and innovation management skills, without overlooking certain key values like the rapport of trust that been established over the decades between exhibitors and visitors. We have in fact just ended the 88th edition and are now making preparations for 2018 in order to celebrate the ninetieth edition. In more than 40 years of business, Expo Riva Schuh has managed to become a sector leader, thanks to its success in overcoming the initial challenge represented by internationalization:  just consider that of the 1,464 exhibitors present at the June edition, only 290 were Italian. The goal was quite simple: “we would like to arrive at the point where those wishing to sell their products in Europe must participate”. Today, in fact, any footwear producer interested in approaching the European market must absolutely visit Expo Riva Schuh.

The reasons behind Expo Riva Schuh’s success are multiple and include for example the date of the two annual editions, the extraordinary location of Alto Garda, and the expert staff working year-round to ensure the success of the event.

How much has the “team”, extending from the top of the chain of command (represented by you) to the bottom, contributed to the success of the fair?

It has contributed a lot. I would like to emphasize that we always thank our partners, sponsors, administrative realities, ministerial bodies, exhibitors, and visitors. The Expo Riva Schuh management team takes every possible opportunity to also thank the staff, not only for their great sense of collaboration, but because we genuinely believe in being able to count on a unique team: over the years, we have managed to sit down around the same table of highly specialized professionals, with each one specialized in their own specific segment, who make a maximum effort and who strongly believe in “their” Expo Riva Schuh, putting all that they have into it along with their passion.

China, India and Brazil are your strategic partners: what importance do they play in the success of the event?

China, India and Brazil play a fundamental role in the success of Expo Riva Schuh, representing an almost complete overview of volume footwear production, and each edition reconfirms their presence at Riva del Garda as a strategic choice.

There has been a lot of criticism regarding the exhibition complex itself

We are aware of the situation regarding the tradeshow’s complex and, since it is not directly owned by Riva del Garda Fierecongressi, we have been working for many years now to create the new Riva del Garda Exhibition Complex. In the meantime, we are sure that both exhibitors and visitors appreciate our efforts to provide quality services, replying to all their demands, by starting, for example, from the offer of a complete hospitality package proposed by our in-house agency for incoming services. There are then the fair’s dedicated services over the course of the event and the extremely educational opening talks that kick off the fair with each new edition, giving visitors and exhibitors new instruments for better understanding the sector.

How does Expo Riva Schuh see the future and what changes are in store for the future?

I hope the future of Expo Riva Schuh is as dynamic as it is now in the present and as it was in the past. This international leading fair of volume footwear will increasingly be of international scope and we have already demonstrated this by bringing a collective of South African producers to the fair for the first time, thanks to the first stop made by the new Expo Riva Schuh Around The World project, which took place this past April in the African continent. The tour in emerging markets, which has the aim of promoting the fair, is one of the initiatives that will bring us to Northern Europe in the fall.  Expo Riva Schuh will become increasingly international and increasingly digital: e-commerce, multiple channels, and the digital age give us the possibility as organizers to “extend” the duration of the fair so that it spans across the entire year, while providing a more detailed look into every exhibitor and visitor.

As for new changes to be made in the future, as you know, we prefer to keep these things to ourselves: the only thing I can hint at right now is that to celebrate the 90th edition we will give full reign to our fantasy and there will be a surprise.

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