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Flap your arms if you want to go to FESPA Amsterdam

While it is great to hear that the Dutch government has eased quarantine restrictions in time for October's FESPA Global Print Expo in Amsterdam, it has little impact on prospective visitors from Australia and New Zealand, where the hardest part is finding a flight that will get you there. Andy McCourt comments

 fespa 21 amsterdam.jpeg

We all love FESPA Global Print Expos and I have yet to speak to a single industry member does not look forward to the next one they are able to attend. However, stating that "There are now no practical travel barriers for most printers who want to be at FESPA 2021" tends to overlook two - possibly more - tiny countries in the Southern Hemisphere where there is an abundance of 'practical travel barriers' preventing our attendance. We at WFOL tried booking flights using popular booking platforms such as Webjet, Cheapflights and even direct with airlines. No availability. We did find a KLM (Dutch Airline) site that offered flights via Los Angeles and Paris - at almost $5,000 economy return and between 60 and 80 hours of travel time each way - not sure if this is a mistake or not.

The Australian Government still takes the position that our borders are closed and only essential or government-approved travel outside of the country is allowed. Applications for exemptions are very hard to get; I know from experience as my 2020 application for my own Mother's 100th birthday (she's now 101 today! No pommie jokes please, I've lived here for far longer than I ever lived in the UK) - it was knocked back. Even if you can get an exemption, the 14-day quarantine period at your own expenses still applies upon return.

So, well done in Europe for relaxing restrictions for the double-vaxxed in 'high risk countries' - but the Global Print Expo is not entirely global is it? And if someone from ANZ is obsessively keen on being there, start flapping your arms now!

Andy McCourt

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Here is the announcement:

FESPA has advised that restrictions on fully-vaccinated travellers to The Netherlands from designated ‘very high-risk countries’ will be lifted from 22nd September 2021 – “meaning that printers and sign-makers from these countries can travel to FESPA Global Print Expo and European Sign Expo 2021 in Amsterdam (12-15 October 2021) without fear of needing to quarantine on arrival.”

Travellers who have proof that they are fully-vaccinated with an EU-approved vaccine can now enter The Netherlands freely, with no mandatory quarantine period. This proof can be provided by means of the EU Digital Covid Certificate (DCC) or equivalent certification from non-EU countries.

“The list of very high-risk countries currently includes the United States, United Kingdom, Israel, India, South Africa, Thailand, and much of Latin-America, so this positive development is significant for many potential international visitors to the October 2021 event,” FESPA said. Further information is available from The Netherlands government website.

Neil Felton
 "There’s a strong appetite from printers all
the world": FESPA CEO Neil Felton 

“Travel to The Netherlands from most of mainland Europe was already seamless for holders of the EU DCC,” said FESPA CEO Neil Felton. “This lifting of mandatory quarantine for fully-vaccinated visitors from ‘very high risk’ countries is important because it will give even more printers confidence to make firm plans to visit FESPA 2021. We know that there’s a strong appetite from printers all over the world to get back to our live event, refresh their industry knowledge and see for themselves the hundreds of product innovations that will be seen in public for the first time at the show. There are now no practical travel barriers for most printers who want to be at FESPA 2021.”

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is continuously increasing its operations. An update of all destinations and frequencies can be found at:

Proof of double vaccination will also enable access to the RAI Exhibition Centre and the FESPA/European Sign Expo exhibition area. The Dutch government’s announcement was accompanied by other adjustments to social distancing measures, and FESPA’s COVID arrangements will be updated accordingly. 

For up-to-date information, visit: