After 70 years, world's largest tradeshow ends

Have been around for 70 years, one of the world’s largest photography tradeshow, photokina, held every two years in Cologne, Germany, is no more. A statement from the organisers conformed the following: “Given the current developments in the imaging market, we have no choice but to suspend implementation of photokina at the Cologne location for the time being. This step is a very difficult one for us to take. What remains are the tremendous memories – and the images of many generations.”

Attracting tens of thousands of photography fanatics from around the world, as well as every photography company conceivable, the event will be suspended until further notice. The official press release cited “further massive decline in markets for imaging products” as one of the driving factors behind the decision.

Gerald Böse, President and Chief Executive Officer of Koelnmesse, organizers of the event stated: “Unfortunately, at present the framework conditions in the industry do not provide a viable basis for the leading international trade fair for photography, video and imaging”. He went on to say that there was simply no alternative decision but to discontinue the event.

Meanwhile, Kai Hillebrandt, Chairman of German Photo Industry Association said: “Our partners in Cologne have done everything in their power to maintain photokina as the leading global trade fair. Nonetheless, an event held in 2022 could not have met the expectations of the entire imaging community that those efforts were intended to serve.”

As a result of COVID, the May 2020 hosting of photokina was cancelled. The writing may have been on the wall as far back as 2017 when an announcement was made that photokina would be downsizing and switching from a biennial event to annual. In 2018, over 180,000 visitors attended from 127 countires. Sadly, it would be the last time the event was held as the 2019 was cancelled.


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