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The Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association gets ready to host annual national conference

RNAA Logo Large-BlackThe Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA) will be playing host to the annual conference of the Association of Show and Agricultural Organisations (ASAO), the voice of the UK agricultural show industry, from 13th – 15th November 2015.

Greg Smith the RNAA’s Chief Executive said he was looking forward to welcoming 150 delegates to Norfolk and promised an exciting and thought-provoking programme of events.

“It’s a great privilege to be hosting this year’s ASAO conference and we have put together an exciting programme of speakers and panel sessions on topics that affect our industry at both the strategic and tactical levels. Outside the formalities, there will be plenty of opportunities to share experiences, which are particularly important in this industry, and time to enjoy some fantastic Norfolk food and drink.”

Commenting on the general state of the industry, he added “It’s a busy marketplace and though it’s tough, keeping a finger on the pulse and offering visitors a value for money, quality experience is an ongoing challenge for agricultural shows, fairs and country events. The industry conference offers a unique opportunity to do just that.”

According to industry figures, six million people visit agricultural and country shows in the UK annually, approximately 10% of the population. 

This large number of visitors enjoy more than 400 days of ASAO members’ organised events each year, ranging from major national and county shows, as well as specialist agricultural, horticultural, equine and country sports shows.  

The countryside is big news too. In 2014 the BBC reported that country and agricultural shows were making a comeback and the number of visitors had risen in the last 10 years.

The RNAA is interested in exploring the reasons for this apparent resurgence and discuss how show programming can appeal to a broader audience.

Delegates will be able to take a tour of the Norfolk Showground and listen to keynote speakers as part of the conference. The RNAA hosted 400,000 people at events at its venue in 2014. The flagship event, the Royal Norfolk Show again attracted more than 80,000 visitors and recorded increased entries overall as well as record temperatures.

This ASAO conference is a rare opportunity for industry practitioners to get together and swap experiences and discuss what matters to their audiences and how to improve and keep these important events in business.

Greg Smith added: “It takes a careful blend of skill, knowledge, judgment, organisation and anticipating visitors’ needs to get a show right. The perfect balance of agriculture, entertainment and education is hard to achieve, but if done well, results in a really enjoyable day out for all, while maintaining an important part of our heritage.”