“It is now clear, despite continued advice from local government and health authorities that the City of Anaheim remains open, that the majority of our Community want the show, but they do not want it now,” New Hope said in a statement.
The organizers are also setting up a rebate fund of $5 million targeted at the specific needs of small businesses, who often rely on ExpoWest to make vital connections to help grow their brand.
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“It is our intention to deliver a Natural Products Expo West event before the summer to serve the community, either in Anaheim or a suitable alternative location,” New Hope said.
In its original decision to continue with events, announced March 1, show organizers estimated a 40-60% drop in attendance from previous years due to corporate travel restrictions and personal concerns about COVID-19, which has spread to at least 70 countries, infecting more than 90,000 people. More than 3,000 people have died.
Last year Natural Products ExpoWest attracted more than 86,000 attendees from 136 countries, according to show organizers.
Companies then faced difficult decisions about whether to send staff to the event in southern California. Opinions were varied on social media about whether the show should go on, be canceled, or postponed. Still others were traveling or had arrived in California before New Hope changed course and canceled events entirely.
Here’s New Hope’s full statement issued on March 2:
“Since the international situation on COVID-19 started in late January, New Hope, and our sister companies around the world have been guided by local government and health authority advice, as well the views of the communities we serve, in making decisions about our portfolio of events.
Our commitment to serve and support our communities has led to the postponement/rescheduling of a number of events elsewhere across our wider group, to a date later in 2020.
In the particular case of New Hope’s Natural Products Expo, the situation has been very different in that the show was in-flight, with production underway, when the views of the community started to diverge. Some of our partners strongly advocated continuing with the show as planned. Some of our partners wanted the show, but not now, and some just wanted a straight-forward cancellation.
Over the last 48 hours, we have worked with the Community to try and serve those who want the show by delivering a great experience, and support those who want it, but not now, by working on credits and alternatives.
It is now clear, despite continued advice from local government and health authorities that the City of Anaheim remains open, that the majority of our Community want the show, but they do not want it now.
Following that clear guidance, we have listened to our community and are making four important announcements:
- Natural Products Expo West in March 2020 is officially postponed, with the intention to announce, by mid-April, a new date.
- It is our intention to work with all our Exhibitors and Attendees on future credits and support, with particular focus on the many entrepreneurs and small businesses who are the heartbeat of this community, for whom we are going to stand up a rebate fund of $5m targeted at their specific needs.
- It is our intention to deliver a Natural Products Expo West event before the summer to serve the community, either in Anaheim or a suitable alternative location.
- We are already working on how we deliver a much-enhanced Expo East in September in Philadelphia, serving and supporting the community with the best show we have ever had on the East Coast.
Fred Linder, Group President of New Hope Network, said:
“As with all our events, it was the intention here at Expo West in Anaheim, to follow official guidance from local authorities and to listen to the voices of the community we serve and support, in order to maximise the health of the industry.”
“Today, it is clear the majority of those voices are saying they want Expo West but not this week. And so we are being guided by that majority in postponing the show.”
“We will be working closely with all our customers and partners across the industry to identify a new date for the show later in the year, and providing the service and support to deliver the connections and experience everyone expects from Expo West and the New Hope Network.”