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Sector questions visitor figures for Resource event at ExCel

Attendance figures claimed for the first Resource event at London’s ExCel have been questioned in the waste sector.

Organisers of what is billed as “Europe’s leading event for the circular economy” said it had “surpassed all expectations with 11,455 visitors” when it was held from 4-6 March.

The total has been challenged because Resource occupied only a fraction of the space taken up by the RWM with CIWM event, the UK’s biggest show for the waste sector which in 2013 reported 13,214 visitors.

Barry Dennis

Barry Dennis, (left), director general of the Environmental Services Association and one of the visitors, has emailed the organisers over the figures and told MRW: “There may well have been 11,000 at ExCel but I’m struggling to understand this figure. They were certainly not at Resource.”

The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) suggested the total owed much to being staged alongside Ecobuild, which reported a 3% increase in attendance to more than 44,000. The unknown factor is how many of these visitors “doubled up” by moving from Ecobuild into the Resource area.

“Given the co-location, it will be interesting to see how these translate into unique visitor numbers once the data has been more fully analysed and audited,” said Sarah Poulter, managing director of IWM Business Services, CIWM’s commercial subsidiary.

A representative of one exhibitor told MRW: “There were a lot of consumer visitors coming in from EcoBuild but I’m not sure were staying very long in the Resource area or were that interested. There were a lot of consultants and students at the event, perhaps more keen on gaining knowledge than contributing to the debate or providing practical solutions.”

John Twitchen, executive director at the Copper consultancy, said those who exhibited at any event considered several factors other than attendance figures when deciding whether or not to return. “Exhibitors will weigh up carefully not just the footfall but also how the show met their target audience,” he said.

Stephen Gee, the event director for Resource organisers UBM, said he was not able to indicate how many people went to ExCel with the primary intention of attending his event. But he insists that 11,455 individual visitors did set foot within the Resource area. “It was a successful show and the people involved have been delighted. To be honest, we were surprised at the numbers. There is a real appetite for Resource.”

Gee emphasised that quality rather than the scale of the event was key, as well as its synergy with Ecobuild.

  • MRW is part of Emap, whose activities includes events. A sister company, i2i, manages RWM with CIWM, which is being held at the National Exhibition Centre from 16-18 September.

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