Reality check … it’s John Baulch’s Friday Blog!

Starting with the biggest news of the week – in the world of toys at least – the Nuremberg Toy Fair has officially announced its dates for 2024. As predicted in the Blog a month ago (good to see the old crystal ball is still working), there is a slight change in the date configuration for next year, with the show shifting to a new Tuesday-Saturday format. Personally, I think this will be viewed by the vast majority as an excellent move – it still gives German retailers a weekend day to visit the show, while international visitors will get an extra weekday to go about their business.

Some had argued for the weekend to be removed completely from the equation, and while that may yet happen a few years down the line, it wasn’t likely to be implemented straight away. Not only would that have sent the wrong message to the domestic German market about their importance to the show, but it would potentially have cost exhibitors more if the main set-up period fell across the whole weekend.

This way, most exhibitors will just have to fly out a day earlier than normal, which should thankfully have minimal impact on the London Toy Fair. Some visitors may choose to do likewise, although flying out on the same day as usual will work just as well for many. Either way, any potential disruption or impact on London has been kept to a minimum, which can only be a good thing. Indeed, the tighter turn-round time between the two shows may even encourage a few international (especially US) visitors to stop off in London before heading over to Nuremberg straight after Olympia finishes.

In other news that could affect international travel and the 2024 Toy Fair Season, 1133 days after it was first introduced, Hong Kong has finally scrapped its mask-wearing mandate. Of course, this being Hong Kong, I gather that the vast majority of locals have continued to wear their masks this week, despite the threat of huge fines no longer hanging over them. I am sure that will change over time, but nevertheless, it’s good to hear that one of the last remaining barriers to international travel (albeit a fairly flimsy one, in truth) has been removed. By next January, we will get to see whether the global toy community chooses to rekindle its long-term fondness for doing business in Hong Kong, or whether the world has moved on.


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