Fespa Asia Pacific, the first wide format and screen printing show held in the region, was severely impacted by the political protests at the Bangkok airports, which prevented overseas visitors and exhibitors from attending the widely anticipated event.
Two days before the show was due to start protestors took over the main international airport, and the following day take gained control of the domestic airport, effectively cutting Bangkok off from the outside world. The protestors kept control of the airports over the duration of Fespa, which was held from Nov 28-30.
Sadly Fespa was unwittingly caught up in the drama, as the high level of expected overseas visitors were not able to attend, including many from Australia. Exhibition director Marcus Timson had vowed the show would go when the airport was first closed, and indeed it did, but with only the local printing fraternity, which are still a sizeable number, able to attend.
Some of the leading luminaries from the exhibiting companies were unable to attend, and not all speakers could get to the conference centre.
The events of the past week will mean a curtailing of international exhibitions in Bangkok in the future, with the more stable locations of Singapore and Kuala Lumpur likely to be the main beneficiaries. By bizarre coincidence Fespa Digital India is due to take place in Mumbai on the 14th of this month, and is another exhibition that is likely to be hit hard by political events.