BIGGA envisaged a bumper 2012 Harrogate Week and their optimism proved to be justified. A total of 8386 visitors attended BTME 2012 making a 49.6% increase of individual people who attended the Show on 2011.
That remarkable figure represents a threefold increase in the number of attendees from Continental Europe; an increase of 108% in those who attended from the South West; an 86% increase of those from Scotland and a 57% increase from the South East.
“We are delighted with the attendance figures, which vindicate the huge amount of work that was carried out in advance of the Show to encourage visitors to attend. The week has evolved over the years and now encompasses a fantastic, well supported education programme, various networking and hospitality events and this year we also saw other bodies taking the chance to hold meetings and gatherings inHarrogatewhilst taking in a trip to the Exhibition.
The education offering is first class and improves year on year in terms of quality and uptake. The unique venue also ensures that networking takes place from breakfast to bedtime and good practice in greenkeeping is discussed and refined as a result.” said BIGGA’s CEO Jim Croxton.
That sentiment was endorsed by exhibitors who saw quality as well as quantity.
Curtis Allen, from Charterhouse Turf Machinery, said the numbers had restored his confidence in shows. “Numbers may be up but we are seeing the decision makers, and quite a bit internationally; which is good for us as a global company.”
“We were pleased with the level of attendance at this year’s show, and the quality of both visitors and enquiries was encouraging,” said Joedy Ibbotson, John Deere’sUK&Irelandturf division sales manager. “There was a refreshingly upbeat mood throughout the event, and people seemed to be more optimistic about the prospects for the golf industry and business generally in 2012.”
Michael Sievwright, of Trimax Mowing Systems, commented: “After a break of seven years we decided to bring our new Merlin to BTME. With the Merlin we have something very applicable to the Golf sector and felt we had to be here. We received lots of interest so the decision was correct.”
Tim Yates, of Kubota, expressed similar views, “We saw a lot of our dealers so BTME has been a good meeting place. You get so much value out of a face to face contact with an overriding opinion coming through that Golf Courses will have to start to invest in new equipment this year.”
Inturf’s Alex Edwards was upbeat in that he saw a lot of his existing customers, “That’s one of the reasons we exhibit because in three days we can meet with a good cross section of our client base; two customers from Denmark and two from Somerset came along
to see us on the first day.”
“It was super,” said Blec Director, Gary Mumby, “the best Show we have attended in six years. We have had plenty of enquires and hopefully they will lead to orders.”
Exhibiting for the first time this year was French company PHM Philippe Morisse. Gaelle Riva, has seen massive interest, “Our product has been available inFrancefor 15 years but we had never exhibited it in theUK. One of our customers recommended BTME to us and, I must say, the amount of interest has made us very pleased.”
Reflecting on BTME 2012, Croxton remarked “One of BIGGA’s most popular events is our Turf Management Exhibition and to have such a successful edition in the year we celebrated 25 years of the Association is really gratifying. When SIGGA, EIGGA and BGGA amalgamated in 1987 to form the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association many of our highest profile members envisaged a time when our activity would be central to the progress of the industry. I hope they’d agree we are on that path now.”
It’s interesting to note that the Mission Statement from 1987 is still relevant today:
“BIGGA is dedicated to the continuing professional development of its members and in serving their needs will strive through education and training for standards of excellence in golf course management throughout the greenkeeping profession.”
It is also a strong part of BIGGA’s remit to raise the profile and appreciation of the profession. Currently member numbers stand at 5,750, of whom 220 are based overseas, and split into Sectional and Regional branches. The association is governed by committees of members; willing volunteers providing direction for the team of staff at HQ to ensure they remain focused on providing a service to the members.
The overall aim of BTME is to provide a catalyst for improving practice in turf management, the upbeat mood amongst the many exhibitors and visitors would suggest that in that respect the 2012 event was a roaring success.