The event’s organisers have announced the cancellation of the Coach & Bus UK trade exhibition, which was scheduled to be held at the NEC in Birmingham on 8-9 November, citing a rising number of vehicle manufacturer withdrawals and attendee concerns.
Event Director Helen Conway said: “It’s with heavy hearts that we announce that Coach & Bus UK will not take place as planned this November. This is not a decision we have taken lightly, and we understand the significance of the situation. For our exhibitors – who fund the show and rely on the increased business that it generates; for our visitors – who utilise the show to learn, to network, and to plan business developments, and to the wider coach and bus industry.
“We feel this decision is in the best interests of our exhibitors, partners and attendees, and that it is the right step to protect the long-term success of the industry’s premier meeting place.”
The organisers said the decision had been prompted by an ‘unprecedented and exceptional’ combination of external factors, including the many industry forces affecting new vehicle production that is impacting on manufacturers’ needs to exhibit this year, chiefly supply chain difficulties, full order books, significant business model changes and budget constraints following the pandemic.
“Second is our responsibility to deliver returns for our exhibitors,” explained Helen. “A lack of vehicles at the show is likely to impact visitor footfall, and we don’t feel that is a risk we can take. Third, is meeting the expectations of our visitors, who have well-based preconceptions of the size and scale of the show from its long-standing history of success.
“We know that this will come as a disappointment to suppliers, operators, and the wider coach and bus community who were looking forward to attending. ‘The show must go on’ is in our DNA, and this is the first time that we won’t be providing an annual industry trade show outside of the pandemic. However, by taking this decision, we can focus on delivering a brilliant Euro Bus Expo in 2024, that represents the full breadth of the sector.”
UK Coach Sales Manager at Pelican Bus & Coach Simon Collins commented: “We respect the organiser’s decision after reflecting on the industry as a whole and appreciate that they are adapting to the needs of the industry. We will undoubtedly be exhibiting at next year’s event.”
Meanwhile, Steve Low, Managing Director at Mistral said: “Mistral has been an enthusiastic supporter of Coach & Bus UK over the years, seeing it as a great opportunity to meet our customers and the wider industry in a different more relaxed environment. It’s a shame that this year’s show is unable to go ahead, which reflects the difficult position that the wider economy finds itself in at the moment. We look forward to participating in next year’s show and playing our part in getting the industry back together.” Claire Phillips, Sales Director at Alfatronix, agreed: “I am sorry to hear of the cancellation. It’s imperative to have a meeting place for industry colleagues to come together – to showcase their latest product innovation to prospective customers, or simply to have a coffee with an old friend. It is rare we can all be together in the same place at the same time. Personally, it’s an event I look forward to.”
Event Director Helen Conway added: “We know these circumstances are temporary and are absolutely confident the industry will bounce back. Though this year’s event will no longer take place, we continue to strive towards our purpose – to connect the industry and support its growth. We’ll be back doing what we do best in 2024. In the meantime, we’re consulting with manufacturers, suppliers, and visitors about future developments, and are looking forward to hosting a full-scale, bigger and better exhibition next year, that will be a true representation of the sector.”