The organizers of the first London edition of the British Optrafair show, due to take place in the Kensington Olympia convention center on Apr. 11-13, 2014, hope to attract a greater number of overseas visitors to the event than in the last few years, when it was staged only in Birmingham. As previously reported in EWI, the show is going to become an annual event, with its venue alternating between London and Birmingham.

Visitors have already started to secure hotel rooms near the exhibition center, taking advantage of special rates negotiated by Jigsaw Conferences, the hotel sourcing partner of Optrafair London. An added attraction for the visitors will be the London Marathon, which will occur on the other side of London on Sunday, Apr. 13. The Optician magazine, which is co-organizing the trade show, will host the traditionally well-attended Optician Awards ceremony on Saturday night, as it has done at the Optrafair in Birmingham.

Optrafair London will also be targeting opticians from the southeastern part of England who have not traveled to the show in the Midlands. On the first day of the fair in London, Friday, the show will stay open until 7 PM to allow local opticians to visit after working hours.

Meanwhile, more than 45 percent of the enlarged space booked at Olympia for the event has already been filled, as some 50 companies have fully contracted to exhibit there. Another 60 companies are about to commit themselves or have signed their intention to show.  

Lens companies such as Hoya, Seiko, Rodenstock and Shamir, as well as Bausch & Lomb and CooperVision, are among those that have pledged their participation in the new London show. In the frame segment, the first signatories include Brulimar, Continental Eyewear, Dunelm, Face à Face, Keeler, Mondottica, Norville, Oko, Optoplast Actman and Viva, among others. Italy's Centrosyle will be there as will Hilco Europe, Ocuco and Optix. The two leading British optical retail chains, Specsavers and Boots, as well as the National Eyecare Group, will have a stand, too.