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29 February - 3 March 2024 // Nuremberg, Germany

IWA OutdoorClassics Newsroom

“Keeping our sights set on the future”

Rebecca Schönfelder, IWA OutdoorClassics exhibition director
Rebecca Schönfelder, IWA OutdoorClassics exhibition director // © NürnbergMesse

The 2021 exhibitions year is drawing to a close, and – because of the current status of the pandemic – once again leaves us with many questions, especially about the trade fairs for the upcoming quarter. That includes plenty of questions about IWA OutdoorClassics as well, and the people in charge are being pressed for answers. One point first and foremost: NürnbergMesse is firmly committed to holding the leading trade fair for hunting and target sports, outdoor equipment, and equipment for use in civilian and government security, in Nuremberg from 3 to 6 March. We interviewed Rebecca Schönfelder, Exhibition Director of IWA OutdoorClassics, to get answers to the most relevant current questions, and to find out more about what the event’s business is up to right now. Schönfelder looked back on 2021, explained how planners were dealing with several exhibitors’ cancellations, discussed changes in the event concept, and also looked at questions of hygiene measures and planning reliability.

A turbulent 2021 is drawing to a close. Ms Schönfelder, please give us a sense of how you currently view things. From the vantage point of IWA OutdoorClassics, how did you experience 2021, and where will you set your sights for the coming year?

Schönfelder: “2021 was a challenge. The global pandemic was still with us this year, and its ups and downs made our business more volatile and faster-moving than ever. All the same, as the organiser of IWA OutdoorClassics we also drew some positive lessons from 2021. IWA Studio Edition in March was a good new step ahead for a time when there were no alternatives. But it will remain one of a kind, because our sector still craves personal encounters, and wants to gather in person at a trade fair like IWA OutdoorClassics. That’s why we’re keeping our sights set on the future. We’re working with deep dedication, and also with lots of support from the entire sector, to make sure we can hold IWA OutdoorClassics 2022 here in Nuremberg. To judge from responses so far, we’re also getting plenty of backing from visitors. That makes me feel very proud, as the event’s director, and provides validation for the hard work our whole team has put in.”

You mentioned strong backing from the sector. But a look at the current list of registered exhibitors indicates that IWA OutdoorClassics 2022 has had to cope with cancellations from several well-known exhibitors. How are you dealing with that?

Schönfelder: “It’s true that some well-known brands and companies have decided not to take part at IWA OutdoorClassics 2022.  But in that connection I think it’s important to emphasize that these cancellations were prompted by COVID. And let’s look for a moment at the exhibitors who did register to come. For one thing, many companies have made a very deliberate decision to appear at IWA OutdoorClassics this coming March, including names like RUAG Ammotec, Beretta Holding, Leica, Frankonia, Glock, Leupold, and many more. They’re thus clearly backing us up. And for another thing, we’re not defined by individual exhibitors – we’re first and foremost a show with diversity. Many long-standing, medium-sized and smaller companies have committed to take part this coming year, and thus quite specifically have also declared their support for holding an IWA. We appreciate that very much, because they’re giving us an immense vote of confidence in challenging times. Conversely, though, that doesn’t mean we don’t sympathise with the companies who have chosen not to exhibit in 2022 because of the pandemic situation. We all know that every country, every region, every company has to be considered individually here. We’re already looking forward to having those exhibitors back with us in 2023.”

Let’s talk for a moment about the event itself. Give us some idea of what visitors can look forward to in March 2022. Exactly where should they expect the biggest changes?

Schönfelder: “Well, one thing’s clear for sure: we won’t be reinventing the wheel! In its first return since the COVID-19 pandemic began, IWA OutdoorClassics will again be presenting time-tested, well-rehearsed event features. And in fact, at some points we’ve adapted the existing concept to the current situation. In 10 exhibition halls, we’ll be focusing carefully on what we’ve missed most during the time with no events – personal dialogue and networking. Which is exactly why we’ve decided to set up our new Community Areas, and to combine smaller forums on a big, shared IWA Stage. We want to bring participants together in as many locations as possible at the show. Unfortunately, exhibitors and visitors will have to do without the popular IWA Party. But as a substitute, we’ve planned for several after-work gatherings in outdoor settings. And the event’s entertainment factor won’t be short-changed – there will be a major get-together with a rustic theme, as well as highlights like a live cooking demo.”

No party – a sacrifice to the coronavirus? Are these the limitations that participants need to be ready for this coming year? And how are you addressing the question of protection and of implementing safety measures in general?

Schönfelder: “Complying with every applicable safety standard is our top priority at all times. The Nuremberg Exhibition Centre is very well designed for holding events while taking these rigorous hygienic requirements into account. The aisles in the exhibition halls are broad, and the ventilation system is right up to date, just to take two examples. We’re also prepared for the possibility of holding the event under 2G+ requirements, where everyone would have to be vaccinated or recovered and also show a recent negative COVID test. Currently, for events being held under 2G+, we rely on decentralized testing options. And we’re clearly seeing that new legal requirements lead to significantly more testing options being made available in a public context. In parallel, of course, we’ll also be increasing our testing facilities at the Exhibition Centre, in collaboration with highly capable service providers. But here I’d also like to ask the public for their understanding. Right now, any discussion of the requirements that an IWA OutdoorClassics event will have to meet this coming spring is pure speculation. You can always find more detailed information on current measures and regulations on our website, and we’ll notify exhibitors and visitors in good time before the event begins.”

Finally, I’d like to ask you to say something about the theoretical possibility of cancelling IWA OutdoorClassics 2022 – can you provide some planning reliability for participants here? And why are some events being held, and others postponed or cancelled, all at the same time?  

Schönfelder: “The only reason that might lead IWA OutdoorClassics to be cancelled this coming year would be a government ban on events. Currently there’s no such ban from the authorities, so we’re throwing ourselves wholeheartedly into being able to hold IWA OutdoorClassics in person in Nuremberg this coming year. We are very deliberately taking that stance as an event organiser – which will show you how very much we want to hold this reunion for the industry! As things stand right now, we’ll be able to hold IWA OutdoorClassics 2022 very well, even with all the requirements that have been set for trade fairs up to now. But the picture may be different for other events, because every industry and sector has its own individual situation. At NürnbergMesse, with our hygiene concept, we can ensure a safe, successful event. But at the same time, we’re responding individually to our customers’ and sectors’ own needs. That means different decisions for the different events.”

All exhibitors and products at a glance!

Effective immediately, you can find out the current status of registered exhibitors in our exhibitor and product database, as well as get an idea of the diverse range of products at IWA OutdoorClassics. Take advantage of the various tools and filters to get the best possible overview.