Industry turns the page on 2020

Nicky Collinson
Editor, Dispensing Optics

The much-vaunted 2020 optical show calendar has been decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic, with all major UK and European trade fairs and conferences either cancelled or postponed. While virtual events are proving a popular and successful alternative for practitioners and providers, many are missing the peer connection, social and networking aspects of face-to-face education and professional and business opportunities that physical events afford.

As the industry turns the page on 2020, we round-up what events have been announced so far…

Caution and confidence

100% Optical will kick off events in May

With restrictions likely to remains in place for the next six months at least, there are no major industry events scheduled before the spring. The first date for the diary, therefore, will be 100% Optical at ExCeL London on 8-10 May.

Event organiser, Nathan Garnett, said: “People cannot wait to meet again, and exhibitions remain the most effective way for people to do this. This move will allow us to make sure that the optical sector can meet in 2021, and you can be reunited with friends and colleagues, meet new and existing suppliers, and take in our world class education programme.”

Following on from 100% Optical will be the National Eyecare Group Building for Success Conference on 23 and 24 May at the DeVere Hotel Staverton Park, Daventry. The theme of the members’ event will be: ‘The tools for success’.

Phil Mullins, NEG operations director, said: “Over the course of two packed days of CET, networking and business-building, we aim to share with members the most valuable tools that they require to develop their business, succeed in an ever-changing world, and help promote a strong independent sector in the UK.”

Having already rescheduled twice, Mido has once again been moved – this time to 5-7 June at Fiera Milano.

Giovanni Vitaloni, Mido president, said: “We have no doubt that our Italian and international visitors will appreciate the opportunity to visit Milan while the weather is fine and we reaffirm our intention to celebrate Mido’s 50th anniversary in an atmosphere of regained peace of mind. Therefore, Mido 2021 in June is the best choice to get us back to our mission – to organise and maximise the opportunities for international trade, bringing new lustre and vitality to this key sector.”

The British Contact Lens Association returns to the Manchester Central Convention Complex on 11-14 June for its clinical conference and exhibition offering some 50 CET points. Its awards ceremony will be held at Manchester Cathedral on Saturday 12 June.

Monitoring the situation

Mido will celebrate delayed 50th anniversary in June

The Optix Conference was one of the first to be cancelled back in March. The company’s fourth attempt to stage its annual user event sees the conference slated for 14-16 June at the Celtic Manor, Newport, Wales. Speakers include Deborah Meaden, Sir Chris Hoy, Duncan Slater and Piers Morgan, with Gyles Brandreth hosting.

Optix managing director, Trevor Rowley, said: “During lockdown I worked closely with a group of Optix customers who wanted to move to a 100 per cent private business model. These represent a complete cross-section of our users with very diverse practices. Some of the practice owners will be joining me on stage on Monday 14 June to discuss their experiences as they dropped their NHS contracts. The results will surprise you and completely dispel the myth that private practice can only work in an upmarket city centre location.”

The Sight Care Business and Networking Conference at the International Conference Centre, Telford, has been rescheduled to the autumn – from 19-20 September. “We have been constantly monitoring the situation,” said John French, SightCare chief executive. “However, with the possibility that the current restrictions may continue for a further six months, the welfare of our members and their staff, our speakers and our supporting partners remains our priority.”

SightCare will run an online event during the first week of March 2021 aimed at independent practice owners and their teams. It will include a series of daily online interactive workshops covering a range of topical areas.

Having recently rounded up its roadshow, Silmo has now announced its trade show dates for 2021 as 21-27 September. In a statement, the organiser said: “In the current extraordinary situation, Silmo is turning the page of 2020 and already beginning to prepare the 2021 edition – a great event to be held at Paris-Nord Villepinte in September 2021 – and its year-long actions to stay in contact and support the optics and eyewear industry.”

Finally, it was no surprise when Opti made the call last month to cancel its January show, due to take place in Stuttgart for the first time. Announcing the cancellation, Dieter Dohr, chairman of the management board of GHM, admitted that rising infection rates had made the event untenable.

He said: “Under these conditions, we would not have been able to meet the justified expectations and the objectives pursued by the exhibitors who registered. So it was with a heavy heart that we decided to take this step. The decision to cancel was really not an easy one for us. We are now gathering our strength, looking to the future and directing our focus towards Opti 2022, which will once again provide a positive impetus to the optical industry.”

The next Opti trade fair will take place at the Fairground Munich from 14 to 16 January 2022.

Stay tuned to Dispensing Optics and DO Online for the latest news and dates for optical trade shows, conferences and events. Email industry news and updates to

The original version of this article appeared in the November 2020 issue of Dispensing Optics.