MELBOURNE, Australia (BRAIN)—With more than 1,500 pre-show registrations, organizers of the inaugural Ausbike Australia Bicycle Trade Expo kicking off this Sunday morning are delighted.
The two-day show, the first trade only show in Australia for more than a decade, is being held at the Melbourne Showgrounds, very close to the Melbourne CBD.
Show director Simon Head said pre-show registration expectations had been below 1,000, and that he had been told by the company handling registrations that each registration would be accompanied by a factor of 2.3 extra people.
"However it's only been in the last three weeks that all of a sudden everything has started to take off," he said. "Apathy is a real problem, it's like people were looking at the negatives, but we kept saying we have a show, yes the show is going ahead.
"Then it suddenly dawned on the industry that the show was a fact—it was in the calendar and exhibitors who had been saying they had very few bookings are now almost fully booked for both days," Head said. "Already I've got exhibitors taking the same space for next year with 18 companies not at this year's show are coming to talk about the 2010 show, all of which bodes well for next year."
With more than 120 exhibitors, it's also one of the largest entry lists seen at a trade show in Australia and that's without the planned Chinese and Taiwanese pavilions which were cancelled citing worries over the swine flue pandemic, but they have said they will definitely be at next year's show.
However, there are a number of overseas manufacturers visiting the show from the United States, South Africa and Indonesia, who are coming to have a look and possibly sign up a distributor for their products.
Head is excited about the potential of the show and its sister event, the Tour Down Under Consumer Bike Expo to be held in Adelaide during the January race that Lance Armstrong seems set to return to next year.
"We're taking bookings for that event already and obviously are giving first-up preference to those companies who have participated in the Ausbike Expo," Head said. "With my background in the outdoor industry, I'm excited about the numbers of outdoor retailers coming to this show, Australia is one of the very few countries where outdoor retailers don't sell bicycles, yet in so many ways the two areas compliment each other."
He believes that within four to five years the show will have grown to between 400 - 500 exhibitors, which is why his company has committed Ausbike Expo to at least five years at the Melbourne Showgrounds.