The organizers of the MIDO fair in Milan have concluded that it's too much to ask exhibitors and visitors to continue to do business at the show until 8 pm, as many stands were empty earlier in the evening. Therefore, they are now asking all exhibitors whether they want the fair to close earlier and perhaps to go back to its former 4-day schedule next year. In case of a 3-day schedule like this year, they want to know whether they want to start next year on Friday May 6 or Saturday May 7. The number of visitors to MIDO rose by 46 percent this year to a total of 37,134 in terms of daily passages through the gates, as compared to the 2003 edition, when it lasted one day longer but was strongly affected by the SARS epidemic and the war in Iraq. At 38,159, the total number of visitors reported for the 2002 edition of MIDO had been slightly higher, but it was spread over 4 days. Many Italian didn't show up last year because of heavy rainstorms and the finals of the national soccer championships, but last month their attendance grew by 68.5 percent from a year ago, in spite of the shorter duration. The number of foreign visitors, who represented 60 percent of the total, was up by 34.4 percent. Exhibitor numbers were also on the rise, up by 7.5 percent to 1,203, in spite of the absence of some major contact lens producers such as Bausch & Lomb, which staged their own conference for the Italian market a few weeks earlier.