Amid a week of speculation about exhibitor cancellations, and mounting anxiety about increasing COVID cases in New Orleans, the National Automatic Merchandising Association issued a bulletin yesterday affirming that next week's NAMA Show in the Big Easy is going forward. NAMA underscored that the health and safety of showgoers will be its top priority.
NAMA is hosting both of its flagship events for the first time since 2019, and for the first time concurrently. The NAMA Show, typically held in the spring, and Coffee Tea & Water, held each fall, are “Together in 2021” to showcase the unique and independent value of each show and audience.
The combined staging, to be held at New Orleans’ Ernest N. Morial Convention Center from Aug. 18 to 20, will be one of the most important industry gatherings ever.
"Nothing about the past year has been business as usual but we have found the way forward to a new normal," NAMA stated in its email. "And so it is with The NAMA Show and Coffee Tea & Water event taking place next week in New Orleans."
NAMA said participants can expect a different kind of show, with different types and levels of participation. "You’ll see some longtime familiar faces in the exhibit hall such as Mondelez and Vistar, while others such as Coke and Pepsi are participating solely through sponsored activities such as show floor sampling areas and the general session speaker," the association observed.
Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo are among several high-profile exhibitors that made the difficult decision to pull out of the show.
However, 216 confirmed exhibitors will be at the convention center on the Mississippi River displaying their latest products, NAMA confirmed. More than 100 new products will launch at The NAMA Show where some 2,000 industry members are expected to attend, the association added.
"At this event you’ll also see exciting new players shaping the future of AI, unattended retail and consumer interaction such as Swyft and KioSoft," NAMA noted. "Rest assured there will be much to see and do at the show and many industry friends, new and old, with whom to connect."
Regarding health and safety, NAMA stated:
"We understand the importance of following CDC, state and local health and safety guidelines and have taken every precaution to provide those onsite with a safe and quality experience. We also understand that corporate travel policies and varying comfort levels with participation in large audience events are impacting both individual and company decisions to attend. We trust everyone to determine what is right for them and their business. While it may result in a different crowd than usual, our pledge is to deliver an experience that is timely, forward-focused and centered on driving the relationships that power convenience services."