The KWF-Tagung in Bopfingen opened its doors on June 13. The 16th installment of the largest forestry technology event in Central Europe has more exhibitors and more exhibition space than ever before. With its three-part offering of a forestry demo trade fair, a specialist field trip and a professional conference, it continues to be unique this year. At the opening press conference in Neresheim, KWF chairman Peter Wenzel announced the highest number of registrations in the nearly 50-year history of the KWF-Tagung and praised the cooperation with regional partners and the host forestry service, ForstBW.
“We are pleased to welcome over 538 exhibitors from 26 countries to Bopfingen” said Wenzel. What is particularly encouraging is that the growing share of exhibitors from abroad was especially responsible for the increase. After the huge success of the KWF-Tagung 2008 in Schmallenberg – with 495 exhibitors from 18 countries – the area for the 2012 meeting was larger from the very start. There is more space in the outdoor area and in the tents. Nevertheless, the net sales area of 2008 was exceeded by a huge amount weeks before the fair. “The enthusiasm of the exhibiting companies for the meeting area on the 'Submissionsplatz' area in Bopfingen could be felt early on. At the beginning of the year, we had already sold much more than two thirds of the area” said Wenzel. At the time of the opening, 75,500 square meters of net area had been sold. This is an increase of over 25% compared to 2008. This includes 10,000 square meters of demonstration areas. It is striking that the average area per exhibitor has risen by 14% to 140 sqm.
“The location in Bopfingen is ideal for us exhibitors. It has an excellent infrastructure and logistics –both for assembly and disassembly as well as for the show itself. It is located close to our customers and offers great opportunities as an exhibition and demonstration area,” says one exhibitor.
The host state of Baden-Wuerttemberg is presenting itself, together with a variety of partners, in its own theme village at the fair. For the first time, all forestry associations and institutions of a German state are presenting themselves together at a KWF-Tagung. “As the host forestry service and state office, we want to provide information about the forestry industry in Baden-Wuerttemberg, with contributions to the specialist field trip and in the Baden-Wuerttemberg theme village on the expo site. ForstBW is a powerful service provider with high potential for innovation, as is reflected in the nationally acclaimed concepts, such as the old wood and dead wood concept, or the overall concept of forest conservation that is currently being developed” says Max Reger, the President of the Baden-Wuerttemberg State Forestry Service and the director of ForstBW.
“We are proud that we can host many thousands of visitors from around the world in the next few days” emphasizes the Chief Administrative Officer of Ostalb County, Klaus Pavel. “As one of the most densely forested counties, our affinity with forests is very great; the sustained and gentle management of our forests is both a matter of course and an obligation for us. With qualified and dedicated forestry staff and using state-of-the-art equipment, we have a very good outlook. We are also showing visitors to the theme village that Ostalb County has a lot to offer tourists and is worth a visit at any time of the year.”
The 2012 KWF-Tagung has two innovations: For the first time, the circular path for visitors has been designed sort of like a cloverleaf. This permits brief paths with many opportunities for shortcuts, making it easy for specialist visitors to head directly to the stations that they find important. The date of the specialist field trip is also new. This time, it starts on opening day. Thus, the full technical program is on offer on the first three days of the event. On Saturday (no field trip), the focus is on major events on the exhibition grounds, such as the European Forwarder Championship, the German Horse Handling Championship and the Stihl Timbersports Cup.
The 16th KWF-Tagung was officially opened on June 13 by Alexander Bonde (Minister for Rural Affairs and Consumer Protection in Baden-Wuerttemberg). This was followed at 3 p.m. by the KWF Innovation Medal awards ceremony with Philipp Freiherr zu Guttenberg (President of the AGDW). KWF presents this award to innovative forestry-related developments. During the four exhibition days, a total of 45,000 visitors are expected in Bopfingen.