Organisers of the Woking Nursery Exhibition (WNE) remain confident about its future despite competition from the National Plant Show (NPS).
Despite being held two weeks apart at the end of June, overall visitor numbers at WNE fell from 700 in 2009 to 540 this year. Committee chairman for WNE, John Hall, says the show “may have to change focus” and feature more local exhibitors rather than national suppliers.
WNE show organiser, Helen Roberts, insisted that WNE still has a future: “If the growers in the region don’t go to a national show, then the buyers will still have to come here. This year there was a lot of interest in NPS, but things will level out.”
Event director of NPS, Sam Gunston, told EN that the horticultural industry had been crying out for a national event. “June is the best month for the industry to engage with events. We did approach the organisers of WNE to get them involved, but they didn’t respond to our calls. There is certainly room for all shows to co-exist amicably,” she says.
One WNE exhibitor, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was disappointed by the visitor numbers but stressed that it was “premature to talk the show down”.
“This is just the first year the shows have been close together. Woking has been around for 30 years and I am sure it will still be around for another 30,” he added.