An aerial view of the massive exhibition site at the National Ploughing Championships
The National Ploughing Association Executive says it has "made the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 Trade Exhibition following months of monitoring the Covid-19 status and taking into account the Government's updated roadmap for the next few months." The event was due to take place in Ratheniska, Co Laois, in September.
In a statement this Friday the NPA said, "Given the sheer scale of the Ploughing with 297,000 attendees in 2019 and the lack of clarity about what Covid-19 restrictions and regulations will look like in September for outdoor events it was felt that cancelling the 1700 trade exhibitor event was the only option.
"Public Health and Safety is of paramount importance to the Association and unless the NPA were confident the Trade Exhibition could go ahead without causing any risk to exhibitors, competitors & visitors it would not be feasible. As the timeline to start site works is imminent – the NPA just could not wait any longer to make a decision.
"The World Ploughing Contest due to be held in Ireland to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the NPA attracting visitors from 30 countries was also cancelled given the extent of current International Travel Restrictions."
The NPA Managing Director Anna May McHugh said, “It’s a massive disappointment to the Association to have to cancel the trade exhibition two years in a row in particular when you consider the estimated annual economic impact of €50 million that will be lost to the Irish Economy.
"We are very conscious of the loss of revenue for our exhibitors and the disappointment of patrons. However, the NPA is a strong establishment, we have a massively committed team behind the event, our exhibitors and our patrons have been very loyal over the years and we look forward to bringing the Exhibition back at its full potential in 2022. We will run our National Ploughing Competitions this year and hopefully we can welcome some visitors (pending regulations).”
The plan will be to build a programme of activities around the “Ploughing Competitions” that will keep the focus on “Rural Ireland” during Ploughing Week (15th – 17th Sept.) – this will include virtual content promoting exhibitors combined with a week of highly interactive and immersive #Ploughing2021 digital activations for all to get involved with.
The NPA have also confirmed that the event will return to Ratheniska in 2022 from 20th – 22nd September when they look forward to enjoying the Ploughing as usual.
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