Vision Expo Florida? Canadians Will Mostly Pass.
After several deferrals of Vision Expo, originally from New York City in March 2020 to the fall of 2020 and then finally to June 2021 in Orlando Florida, Vision Expo is moving forward.
Amid successive waves of COVID, a slower vaccine roll-out (compared to the US) and uncertainties around quarantine requirements for returning Canadians, will northern snowbird ECPs embrace the opportunity to connect with industry colleagues in sunny Florida?
The answer is clearly, “Sorry, we’re going to pass for now”, based upon a survey conducted among over 100 Canadian ECPs in March by VuePoint.
87% of optical industry members surveyed indicated that they will either “likely not” or “definitely not” attend Vision Expo East, with 73% of those falling into the “definitely not” category. Less than 4% responded that they will “definitely attend” the Florida event.
COVID and Travel Restrictions Weigh
When asked for specific reasons for not attending, risk of COVID during travel and at the venue, and the uncertainly of quarantine restrictions upon returning to Canada, where cited as the major reasons; 46% citing COVID risk during travel and at the venue and 52% concerned about the quarantine restrictions.
It should be noted that the vaccination rate in Canada at the time of the survey was extremely low.
Survey results among those that were either regular or dedicated Vision Expo attendees i.e. having attended at least three or more Vision Expo events in the past five years, were slightly more inclined to “likely attend” but not significantly.
New York Versus Florida?
Many of the respondents indicated a very clear preference for New York over Florida. A common theme among respondents’ open comments indicated reservations about holding the event in a state with few or potentially unenforced public health measures.
While many attendees in past years might undertake the 5+ hour auto trek from the border to New York, the prospect of air travel and paying for quarantine upon return is off-putting to many.
The survey included 39% respondents who had attended 1 or 2 VE events in the past 5 years, 12% were occasional VE attendees (3-5 times in past 5 years) and 19% were dedicated VE fans, attending 5 or more VE events in the past 5 years. 79% of respondents were independent ECPs, and 10% were industry suppliers, the remaining 11% were optical retail chain associates.
VuePoint Survey conducted in English and French among Canadian Optical personnel March 10 to March 19.