Diversified Communications explains decisions on 2016 Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global

Published on
March 31, 2016

Diversified Communications Group Vice President Liz Plizga on Thursday, 31 March expounded on her company’s decision to continue with the 2016 Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global in Brussels from 26 to 28 April despite the recent terrorist attacks in the city in mid-March. Also on 31 March, several international groups and companies affirmed their commitment to attending the show following the pull-out of HB Grandi.

In a statement posted on its website on 30 March, the Icelandic fishing and processing firm HB Grandi said it would not be sending 27 of its employees to the show as planned.

“After careful consideration, HB Grandi management feels it is not justifiable to send employees to Brussels, as is it unclear whether their safety can be sufficiently secured following the recent terrorist actions in the city,” the statement said. “In addition, being in Brussels can potentially cause employees and their families discomfort and anxiety. HB Grandi has a strong relationship with its customers around the world and will further strengthen these ties in other ways this year. The company plans to exhibit next year.”

Plizga said Diversified has confirmed cancellations amounting to less than 2 percent of the sold exhibit space for this year’s expo. Last year, more than 26,600 seafood professionals from 144 countries attended Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global and 1,761 exhibitors from 72 countries, including 66 national and regional pavilions.

“The event remains larger than in 2015, which was a record breaking year with 36,063 square meters of exhibit space,” Plizga said. “We are still tracking ahead of last year with 36,889 square meters.”

Plizga said while Diversified (which owns SeafoodSource.com) has considered alternative cities to host the event both in past years and this year following the attacks, it was infeasible to move the show to another location with such little time remaining before the event. She said Brussels is also booked as the host city for 2017, though “the option of relocation is something that is continuously evaluated regardless of the current situation.”

“Moving a show of this size is not an easy task – it entails many different moving parts and would not have been logistically feasible this year. Furthermore, given the nature of world events, we focused on continuity of business and current security measures” she said. “Based on our longstanding history with the city, the city is taking exceptional measures to maximize safety and help with business continuity.

Following the Brussels attacks, exhibitors planning for this year’s show have “responded in a variety of ways given the emotional nature of the issue,” Plizga said.

“We have had a very supportive response of those who maintain their presence and we field many questions on security minute-by-minute. There are those who are more concerned and have decided not to join, however, as it stands, we have not seen substantial cancellations,” she said.

SeafoodSource.com contacted 12 international exhibitors that each affirmed their commitment to attend this year’s show, including the Istanbul Exporters’ Association, PTC Germany, CAPMMA and the FEST Group from Russia.

Alexey Pchelintsev, the sales manager for FEST Group, said 12 individuals representing six companies will be traveling to Brussels for the expo.

“There must be some concern with terrorism – we are all human, everyone will have some fear. But as long as we are doing business, we have to go,” Pchelintsev said. “We will try to take some steps for safety, like taking the taxi and not the Metro, and staying away as much as possible from noisy public places.”

Diversified Communications has been posting daily security updates for Seafood Expo Global and Thursday’s update announced visit.brussels launch of a hotline for questions regarding transportation in Brussels. The hotline's phone number is +32 2 551 54 73 and it will operate from 8 a.m. (GMT+1) to 9 p.m.

Plizga, representing Diversified, said the company’s longstanding relationship with the city of Brussels has aided the company’s successful effort to augment security for this year’s expo, with the addition of bag restrictions, metal detection screening, detection dogs and an increased police presence.

 

“Our current relationships in Brussels helped us navigate through very difficult situations and they have been exceptionally responsive to our safety needs,” Plizga said. “Companies will need to make individual decisions as people have responded in many different ways. We, with the support of the city, we are doing everything we can to create a safe environment to facilitate business at this year’s event.”

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