Optrafair 2018 opened its doors at the NEC in Birmingham at 9 am on Saturday 14 April to a record number of visitors.  The weather augured well, with a beautiful warm Spring day greeting the thousands of optical professionals who came to see the very latest in optical technology, frames and lenses.

FMO and its exhibition partner, Mark Allen Exhibitions, reacted to exhibitor and visitor feedback after last year’s show, and introduced a number of improvements, notably an earlier start, breaks in the education programme, and more entertainment.  Happy hour on each day of the show featured a live band, and new features added to the bright and buzzy atmosphere including a fashion catwalk with the latest frames from Bondeye, Eyespace, International Eyewear and Wolf Eyewear.

2018 marked the 40th anniversary of Optrafair, launched in 1978, and the NEC presented a cake to mark the occasion to FMO members who had supported the show for many years.

Said FMO Chief Executive Bryony Pawinska, ‘FMO and our exhibition partners Mark Allen Exhibitions have invested heavily in developing a modern trade show that meets the needs of all exhibitors so that visitors can come to one place to see everything that is new in optical and ophthalmological technology as well as the latest lenses and frames.  Visitor numbers hit more than 7000 and over 70% of exhibitors have rebooked for Optrafair 2019.  If you provide a show where visitors are engaged with the products, not just the CET, and where exhibitors are selling to buyers, then you have it all.’

FMO Chair Andy Yorke summed up the show: ‘I was absolutely delighted with the vibrancy and atmosphere at Optrafair 2018. Over the 3 days we spoke with many customers new and old, and we were extremely satisfied with the outcome of the show. I’m looking forward to the next 12 months and the challenges that this will bring as I truly believe there is a high degree of positivity throughout the whole optical industry.’