Toy Fair expands 30 per cent at Olympia
02-Nov-10by Annie Byrne
A stronger economy and the switch from Excel London back to Olympia have helped the Toy Fair expand and sell out 12 weeks ahead of the next event. The 58th annual Toy Fair takes place from 25-27 January 2011 and will be 30 per cent larger than its predecessor. British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) fairs and events manager, Simon Pilling, said the 2010 Toy Fair, the first in 10 years to be held back at Olympia, took over Grand and West Hall ground floors and was on par with its 2009 show, which ran at Excel. However, strong feedback prompted the organiser to expand total floor space for the 2011 event to include the Gallery Level. This represents 20 per cent more exhibitors, or over 200 stands. “This year, the industry is much stronger following the recession and demand for space grew so we decided to open up the Gallery Level to exhibitors and this is now sold out,” Pilling explained. “Moving back to Olympia in January had a big impact on increasing exhibitor numbers. Toy Fair exhibited at Olympia for many years before its move to Excel and, for many exhibitors and visitors, it was very much a case of the event ‘coming home’. “The toy industry is a very sociable one, and they are happier in west London,” he added. Year-round contact with exhibitors, as well as the organiser’s decision to offer gallery space at an 18 per cent discount, also provoked stronger exhibitor numbers for 2011, Pilling said. Pilling said this year’s show would see the return of several hobby companies such as Hornby, Amerang, Carrera and Oxford Diecast. The organiser has also announced the Toy Fair Best New Toys 2011 and launch of the test Toy Lab area, which will be run by 3-10 year olds.