It all seems like a very long time ago! A few weeks before the country went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were lucky enough to come together for Hostex 2020. Gathering all the players in the hospitality, foodservice and food and beverage industries together, the refreshed and revitalised Hostex 2020 saw over 5 000 visitors connect with more than 200 producers, manufacturers and distributors of hospitality-related products and services.

Of the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the hospitality industry, Nick Sarnadas, Exhibition Director of Hostex, says that “South Africans as a whole are known for their ability to weather storms, and the industry will bounce back – embracing and creating new and different ways of doing things.”

“As the industry faces a future of reinventing itself, Hostex 2022 will be an intrinsic part of that reinvention. Our purpose is to connect the industry, and between now and 2022, in this time of great upheaval and difficulty, we want to do everything within our means to provide connection. Our call is for the industry to let us know how we can help you. We invite you to reach out to us, using info@hostex.co.za or our social media platforms. We’re open to ideas that involve connecting – webinars, buyers campaigns, website connecting, or others,” says Sarnadas.

He adds, “As the hospitality, foodservice, food & drink sector starts finding its feet again when the pandemic subsides, we – as part of the industry – will also be considering the best strategies for Hostex 2022, with the interests of our entire hospitality industry in mind.”

When reflecting on the show in March, James Khoza, President of SA Chefs Association, Executive Chef of Sandton Convention Centre and a Hostex Ambassador, says, “Hostex was energetic and vibrant. It embraced every sector in hospitality and delivered on visitor numbers per individual stand. It also gave premier status to SMMEs through the innovative Incubator Hub and offered excellent seminars on trends and developments within the industry.”

Here are the stats from the event: 

  • 5586 visitors
  • 100% visitors who make or influence buying decisions
  • 10 500m of exhibition space
  • 1000s of new products and services
  • Many new features to add value as leading industry platform
  • 3 theme days
  • 22 curated and relevant seminar topics
  • 7 Hostex Ambassadors – captains of industry

Who visited Hostex?

  • 65% in age groups from 25 to 54 years
  • 96% from South Africa
  • 31 other countries were represented
  • 74% of international visitors from other African countries
  • 60% from foodservice and hospitality
  • 21% from retailing, wholesaling, distribution, import/export
  • 11% from manufacturing
  • 8% other sectors

Sarnadas says Specialised Exhibitions received really good feedback about ROI from exhibitors and from visitors about the quality engagement they had on the stands. “The show was very good for us – it was a lot busier than we expected it to be,” said Craig Roff, MD of Mac Brothers Catering Equipment. “We picked up some quality excellent leads on the first day, and on the second day, we made sales off the stand which covered our costs and sold ovens to the value of over R300 000. Thanks to Nick and his team for listening to the trade and bringing it back to Sandton and for holding it every two years – none of us have money to do this every year. It was phenomenal and we will definitely be back.”

“Hostex strives to be a comprehensive platform where industry can do business, learn, share knowledge, network, be impressed and inspired, and enjoy themselves,” concludes Sarnadas. “It’s part and parcel of the hospitality industry and we have worked hard to hear what our industry has to say, to heed demands and meet expectations. That’s certainly going to continue in years to come.”

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