The Drink Technology India conference and trade show went off as scheduled on Nov. 27-28 in Mumbai, despite the terrorist attacks that shook the city that week. The show, which is put on by Munich International Trade Fairs, is a convention for the beverage, liquid food and PET packaging sector. (The list of exhibitors includes Husky, Netstal, KraussMaffei, Krones, Sidel and other names familiar to Plastics Blog readers.) The organizer put out a news release after the event that makes for pretty fascinating reading. The headline isn't something you typically see from a trade show organizer: "drink technology India overshadowed by terrorist attacks." It notes:
When the congress began on the morning of 27 November, Mumbai had seen a night of terror -- a crisis that took both Munich International Trade Fairs as well as the event organiser totally by surprise. “There have been a few attacks in India and also in Mumbai in this year, but terrorist attacks to that extent could simply not be expected“, said Managing Director of Munich International Trade Fairs, Norbert Bargmann. As a reaction to the attacks, the opening ceremony was cancelled, but the congress took place as planned -- also with regards to the participants who had come to Mumbai from all over the world. 45 companies from the beverage and liquid food industry had booked stand spaces at the accompanying exhibition. Being situated near the airport in the North of Mumbai, the Grand Hyatt seemed to offer safety, as the attacks appeared to be concentrated in the South of the city. However, when the situation in Mumbai got more and more precarious and unclear in the afternoon of 27 November, the congress management decided to leave it up to the concerned whether they wanted to participate on the second day or not. Some of the exhibiting companies had already left at this point, others stayed in Mumbai until the official end of the event at their own risk. At the get-together in the evening, a minute's silence in memory of the victims of the terrorist attacks was held. Due to the terrorist attacks, the unclear information situation and the appeals to the inhabitants of Mumbai to stay at their homes, clearly less visitors came to the Grand Hyatt than expected. The signs before the event had been very positive, though: a lot more visitors had pre-registered than for the premiere in 2007 and the demand for stand spaces at the accompanying exhibition in the hotel lobby had been higher than in the previous year. The conclusion of Munich International Trade Fairs' Managing Director, Norbert Bargmann: “We would like to thank all participants who did not lose their courage and believe in the event in this situation. Due to the incidents, a qualitative and quantitative evaluation is not possible. There is, however, no doubt that we will adhere both to the event itself and the location in India. drink technology India will take place -- after a one year break due to drinktec 2009 in Munich -- again in 2010!“That must have been quite a week. I'm glad the Drinktec folks made it home safely, and that they're feeling optimistic enough to plan a 2010 event. Still, this raises some important questions about security for business travelers.