The Council of the BTHA met last week to discuss the future format of the Toy Fair and has released the following statement.
"The Council considered the responses that had been received on the proposed changes to the Toy Fair, and the many varied views. The majority of exhibitors and visitors ideally want to work the fair on four days, preferably weekdays. Visitors would like a more open Toy Fair with greater access to stands.
"The majority of the responses we received were strongly in favour of moving the dates of the fair to a Tuesday to Friday format. The ONLY way to build the show ready to open on Tuesday was for Toy Fair to be built from premium shell scheme. Therefore any decision on dates or shell scheme had to be taken as one decision.
"The email responses we had to the move to shell scheme were more evenly spread, for and against, with no space only option available. The Council received feedback on all the points of view, both for and against a move and were given a presentation on what stands would look like and cost if a move to shell-scheme only stands went ahead.
"Although many exhibitors were in favour of the changes, some exhibitors were concerned about their branding, their commitment to their own stand builders and the short time frame available for any planned changes.
"After careful and considered deliberation the Council decided that the concept of a shell-scheme show would work well and the designs submitted were impressive, but that the short time frame would not give exhibitors time to make arrangements for 2009. Therefore the dates for 2009 will remain the same. Wednesday 28th – Saturday 31st January, closing at 3pm on Saturday.
"There will be two changes for 2009, Toy Fair will move into one hall – the South. This will mean a change to the position of some stands and a floor plan will be sent out to all those that have already sent in applications to confirm allocation. The size of stands will remain the same to avoid changes to stands where possible.
"The new stand contractor for Toy Fair will be Melville Exhibition and Event Services. All contact details for shell scheme stands, electrics and other services will be sent out in the coming weeks.
"Moving to one hall will limit the space available for one year and therefore we would advise those that have not applied to contact the Toy Fair Team as soon as possible.
"Discussions will continue towards the viability of changes to the format of the show in 2010."