Exporters of handloom textile made-ups from Karur district are disappointed over the cancellation of the annual international trade fair, Heimtextil 2022, which was to be held from January 11-14 in Frankfurt in Germany.
Heimtextil, a major trade fair of international relevance, has been cancelled for the second consecutive year due to the pandemic. “Against the background of the worsening pandemic situation in Germany over the past two weeks and the associated restrictions, Heimtextil, scheduled to take place in the second week of January, is cancelled,” an official announcement said. Messe Frankfurt, the organiser of the fair, has indicated that it was working with the industry to determine whether the fair could be held in the summer of 2022.
Retailers, wholesalers, designers, furniture and bedding stores, interior decorators, interior architects, architects, hotel outfitters and many other decision makers come to Heimtextil every year. A range of product samples right from decorative and furniture fabrics to textiles for the bedroom and bathroom and table are displayed at the expo. The exhibition also gives an overview of the latest trends in the industry and popular designs.
Every year, about 40 exporters from Karur, which is famous for its handloom made-ups such as table cloths, kitchen towels, bedsheets, curtains and other home furnishing products, travel to the expo and set up stalls to attract buyers and secure orders.
“It is disappointing. There was lot of expectations (on getting good business) as the fair was to be held after a gap of two years. Sample developments were almost over and we had made payments to contractors for doing the interiors in our stalls,” observed P. Gopalakrishnan, president, Karur Textile Manufacturers Exporters’ Association.
Those who had planned to participate may have suffer some loses by way of payments to contractors, flight and hotel bookings etc. Though the organisers are now exploring the possibility of holding it in summer, but June is holiday time in Europe, he said wondering whether such a move would be successful.
However, exporters say that all is not lost due to the cancellation of the fair. “In general it is big opportunity to get business. Normally, some of the participants from Karur get orders for up to 40% of their annual business. But the fair was cancelled in 2021 too, yet we managed to get good business. We will have to wait and see this year,” Mr. Gopalakrishnan said. Nevertheless, attending the fair in person, especially in the absence of China, would have helped participants to get better business, he added.
Some of the participants were sore that the fair has been cancelled at the last minute. Many had booked tickets, made the registrations and other arrangements may stand to loose some money individually, pointed out Arasu Sethupathi, Joint Secretary of the association. “The cancellation of the fair was disappointing in particular because some buyers who have been buying only from China till now, had decided not be fully dependent on the country and were looking to give orders to manufacturers from countries such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. We were hoping to garner some orders from such buyers. It would have been an big opportunity for India and we may miss them,” Mr.Sethupathi said.
On the other hand, some also feel that the cancellation of the fair may be a blessing in disguise in the wake of the Omicron scare. “If the pandemic situation were to turn worse there and buyers failed to turn up, we could be faced with heavier losses,” an exporter observed.
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