Recently updated government restrictions mean that visitors and residents to Hong Kong will be required to quarantine on arrival up to March 31, 2022 which covers the start of the fair. Therefore, the decision was taken to host the show at the World Trade Centre in Dubai.

David Bondi, Director of APLF, said that Dubai was chosen as it is very well connected as a regional and international transport hub and is easy to get to for exhibitors and visitors attending from Asia, especially the Indian sub-continent, Africa, Russia and Europe. He also said that the flight times from North and South America would also be less than Hong Kong and all major regions have direct flights.

Prior to the announcement, APLF said that they had consulted most of the major exhibiting countries who were broadly supportive of the move. Sophie Hivert of the French Tanners’ Association and Jane Li, representing the Leather & Hide Council of America, spoke at a virtual press conference on October 13 in support of the event. Both stated that their members were very keen to meet face-to-face once again and that leather was a material that had to be experienced live rather than in a virtual setting.

Grace Lee of Informa Markets and APLF Director said that it was still early days but they hoped to attract around 400 exhibitors from 40 countries to the relocated show (far fewer than the last edition in Hong Kong in 2019) and Informa Markets offices located around the world would be working together to attract visitors as well as through national industry associations. What was previously known as Fashion Access will be merged into the APLF event.

In terms of Covid safety, Lee said that Dubai had been hosting live international events over the past 15 months and was following Covid protocols such as mask-wearing and social distancing. Dubai also has one the highest Covid vaccination rates among its population in the world at 98.1%.

The month of Ramadan begins on April 2 (a day after the show) and the World Expo in Dubai is due to finish on March 31. The plan is to revert back to Hong Kong from March 2023.

APLF Ltd is a joint-venture between Informa Markets and SIC Group.