IDS 2021 will take a new approach defying the COVID-19 pandemic


The uncertainties caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are also hitting the dental industry. In recent months, partners of the 39th International Dental Show (IDS) 2021— GFDI mbH, a commercial enterprise of the VDDI (Association of the German Dental Industry), the association and its committees, and Koelnmesse— have intensively examined the safety criteria required to enable the IDS international trade fair to take place with physical presence despite of the tougher general conditions for major events. All those involved jointly discussed various possible solutions and developed an alternative concept for the IDS trade fair format.

A recent visitor and exhibitor survey showed that many exhibitors will definitely attend in March 2021. At present, 1,276 exhibitors have registered. In addition, the conditions of a catalogue of criteria and quality are fulfilled, as partly determined by the current safety regulations in Germany.

Following intensive consultation within the VDDI and thorough examination of the new IDS 2021 trade fair format with hybrid elements by Koelnmesse, the VDDI Executive Board, with the approval of the Advisory Board, agreed at a meeting in Cologne, Germany, on 6 October to take the following measures to ensure that the 39th IDS can be staged successfully in March 2021:

  • The 39th IDS will only last four days from 10 – 13 March, 2021 (Wednesday – Saturday) instead of five.
  • The site will be laid out and the halls re-planned according to circumstances in order to spread the more than 1,200 exhibitors safely in accordance with the Corona protection regulations and route visitor flow with several entrances and increased social-distancing.
  • There will be new stand areas, wider aisles, additional visitor flow, and rest areas.
  • Koelnmesse offers additional hybrid tools on a digital platform to complement the presence trade fair usefully. This means that guests from overseas can also take part in the IDS 2021.

Commenting on the outcome, Mark Stephen Pace, chairman of VDDI, said, "I am very pleased that following the intensive discussions since our General Assembly in July, we were able to conduct an opinion-forming process within the association. Several working groups made up of members, in close consultation with the Executive and Advisory Boards as well as front office, did their utmost to make the 39th IDS possible even under the most difficult circumstances.

We put a great deal of effort into agreeing to implement the IDS with this new approach. At yesterday's meeting we struggled very hard to find the best solution and discussed many aspects controversially. I am glad that we now have certainty and everyone is working together to ensure that the 39th IDS 2021 can function as a platform for the dental industry even under the constraints of this crisis.”

Pace added that in the past century, the VDDI has mastered many challenges and will also actively shape the current crisis. They want to contribute to a safe new start for the industry worldwide.

He said, “We are developing concepts and solutions to ensure that in the ‘new normality’ people can go about their work as safely as possible and take steps towards a stable future - also economically. Solutions are expected from the German dental industry, an industry very familiar with hygiene, and we want to offer these solutions for the benefit of all participants at the IDS 2021. The next few weeks will certainly be exhausting, but we are pleased that we will be able to make the seemingly impossible possible!”