As we had predicted in a previous issue of EyeWear Intelligence, the Paris fair will no longer be held in October from next year on. After intense negotiations with the management of the fairgrounds, which led to changes of dates for a dozen other smaller fairs, the organizers of SILMO have been able to secure a time slot in the second half of September for the whole 2009-2012 period.

Many exhibitors had been putting pressure on SILMO to advance its dates, as MIDO has already done by shifting them from May to March. The pressure mounted on the Italian side with the proposal by ANFAO, the Italian eyewear industry association, to organize a new MIDO Business Forum in Rome at the beginning of September next year.

This year, SILMO will still be held as scheduled from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, during the weekend of Halloween, but the dates set for next year are Sept. 17 to 20. They will coincide with the international optical fair in Beijing, unless that show changes its own dates. In view of this, it's not yet sure whether some of the companies that have pulled out of this year's SILMO will come back.

As previously reported, Allison, De Rigo and Marcolin have decided to leave SILMO for this year, following the example given by Safilo in the Fall of 2007. They have been joined by another Italian company, Visibilia, as well as the Bushnell group and Vuarnet. Still, SILMO's organizers said a couple of weeks ago that 85 percent of the companies that exhibited last Fall have confirmed their participation.

They stress that SILMO wants to reinforce its role as a fair that caters to all the sectors of the ophthalmic industry at a time where MIDO seems to be more concerned about the producers of sunglasses and prescription frames. This year's SILMO will have a larger space for French optical retailing groups. It will also place meeting rooms freely at the disposal of the more technical components of the sector, such as suppliers of equipment or contact lenses, can hold conferences and demonstrations.

In another innovation intended to facilitate the return to the hotels after the show, a service desk will be installed at the main exit to obtain a taxi or a ticket for the underground without having to wait in line for too long. SILMO's website has been improved, and it can now be used for pre-registration. Visitors using an airline associated with Skyteam or the French railroad system to get to Paris for the show will be eligible for discounts. A shuttle bus will again connect the fair with Paris' airports.

Meanwhile, the desire to cut exhibition costs has led both Safilo and Luxottica to announce that they will not participate in the July 2009 edition of the Australian Odmafair in Sydney. Several other companies are reported to be weighing their decision to show there.

IFEMA, which organizes the Expo-Optica fair in Madrid, has decided to make the show biennial at the request of the exhibiting companies. The next one will be in March 2010. One of the main reasons given was the movement taking place on the international trade show calendar. IFEMA also cited the evolution of the eye care sector in Spain and the fact that its International Optometry, Contactology and Ophthalmic Optics Congress takes place every other year, drawing numerous attendees.

There is also a report that the Hong Kong optical fair will move its dates to May or June, offering the possibility for exhibitors and visitors to attend it before or after the fair in Dubai.