Expoóptica has reported that the number of visitors at its 27th annual show in Madrid a few weeks ago increased by 58 percent from the previous edition, reaching 11,290 professionals from 25 countries. The jump was due to increased marketing and to the organization of a simultaneous International Optometry, Contactology and Ophthalmic Optics Congress, which takes place in Madrid every other year and which attracted this time more than 1,200 participants. As compared to two years ago, the total attendance at the fair was up by 12 percent.

The total number of visitors included 634 from outside Spain. They were led by Portugal (representing 65.1 percent of foreign visitors), France (7 percent), Germany (5.3 percent), Italy (4.3 percent), the Netherlands (2.1 percent) and the U.K. (1.6 percent). The organizers of the exhibition, which was held from Feb. 29 to March 2, said that 44.1 percent of the visitors were opticians-optometrists, 13.0 percent were audio-prosthetists, 8.7 percent were managers, 5.6 percent were ophthalmologists and 5.1 percent were employees at opticians'. Of the 114 Spanish and foreign exhibitors, the most strongly represented segments were independent opticians (22.5 percent of overall participation), optical retail chains (10.7 percent), purchasing centers (6.2 percent), franchises (5.1 percent), sunglass stores (4.3 percent), fashion outlets (3.2 percent) and sports stores (3.4 percent).

The fair remained important for Spain's optics and optometry industry at large. Out of the Spanish visitors, 43.7 percent came from the Madrid region, 8.7 percent came from Andalusia, 8.4 percent came from Valencia, 8.0 percent came from Catalonia and 5.5 percent came from Castile-Leon.

The Madrid fair held the first edition of AL-Invest Eye to Eye Trade Meeting: Latin America Meets Europe in Optics. The initiative hosted more than 160 meetings involving over 60 companies from Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Germany, Spain, France and Italy. Next year's Expoóptica is set to take place in Madrid on March 27-29.