Crowds flock to a completely 'revolutionised' Optrafair and a record number of exhibitors re-book for 2018 after a successful three days at the UK’s flagship optical event

04 April 2017

A completely 'revolutionised' Optrafair enjoyed a hugely positive three days at the NEC in Birmingham as over 7,000 attended the optical market’s longest standing and premium exhibition, which took place from 1st – 3rd April. The show opened its doors on Saturday as FMO's Chair Andy Yorke, and Chief Executive Bryony Pawinska, cut the ribbon as a queue of practitioners gathered to gain CET points, place orders for new products and network with their peers.

Visitors came from all over the UK to participate in an exceptional range of education provision, from CET for registrants to business sessions for practice staff, as well as an unprecedented level of on-stand CET. Over 220 CET points were available over the three days.

Paul O'Reilly, Group Marketing Manager of Scope said, ‘Optrafair has been fantastic from a CET perspective. We've been fully booked, and packed out all sessions, we even had to turn people away. Overall we've had loads of positive comments from attendees. Recently we have launched two products: Hycosan Dual and Optase lid wipes; both launches and CET sessions have drove foot fall to the stand, providing a huge commercial benefit.’

Exhibitors covered the whole spectrum of optical manufacturing, distribution and supply, including all the latest equipment and instruments, lenses and contact lenses, glazing and finishing labs and providers of business services for optical practices.

Nicky Clement, Marketing Manager of Eyespace said, ‘We've done really well and were busy from the start with lots of customers, it has been none stop.’ She went on to say, ‘We really like how the look of the show has freshened up from 2016.

Running since 1978, the FMO-owned show has been managed by MA Exhibitions for two years. This year's show saw a buzzing bar celebrating FMO's centenary and plenty of new features including Trend Forecasting, Window Dressing, a Boutique Frames area, and a Business Theatre.

FMO Chief Executive, Bryony Pawinska said ‘This was the first Optrafair show for which MA Exhibitions had a full year's planning cycle, having taken on the event management mid-way through planning for the 2016 show, and I am delighted at the vibrancy of the new show format. The centenary bar area worked particularly well as a busy central focus and comments from exhibitors and visitors alike have been overwhelmingly positive, with huge loyalty to Optrafair as the sector's own show and praise for the professionalism of the MA Exhibitions team.

Managing Director of Exhibitions, Ed Tranter stated, ‘We are proud to be at the forefront of optical thinking and practice. This year’s show provided the perfect opportunity to recognise the vibrancy and innovation of the sector with four key ‘revolution’ areas; Fashion, Vision, Technology and Business, all of which featured heavily at Optrafair 2017 through a diverse range of exhibitors, special features and a fantastic education programme.’

On Monday 3rd April Optrafair partners FMO and MA Exhibitions announced a new co-operation with the well-established German trade show Opti. This strategic partnership is a very positive step and will ensure that both shows will be promoted to potential exhibitors and visitors to maximise their success.

Andy Yorke, Chair of FMO, enthusiastically supports this collaboration: ‘This is a great reciprocal arrangement. Opti is one of the fastest growing eyewear shows in Europe and Optrafair showcases the best of the UK’s manufacturing, distribution and supply of ophthalmic optical products and equipment. This partnership will benefit both shows.

David Owen, MD of Pattern Ltd, Opti’s UK & Ireland agents, attended Monday’s launch. ‘GHM is an exhibition organiser for trade associations for their selected industries and sees great synergies with Optrafair because of its ownership by FMO. Opti is particularly interested in the technical prowess of opticians in the UK market and see this co-operation as very beneficial.

The show closed with over 76% of the floor space already sold for Optrafair 2018. Optrafair will be back at the NEC from April 14th to the 16th 2018.

About MA Exhibitions

MA Exhibitions was established in 2015 to house the Mark Allen Group’s growing portfolio of exhibitions. Through our market-leading brands, MA Exhibitions now organises some of the UK’s largest trade shows in their markets, including the Engineering Design Show, Nursery World Show, Manufacturing & Engineering North-East, Manufacturing Management Show, Packaged and Dental Showcase. Many of our shows have been recognised for their success, innovation and customer experience.

We have a highly talented team of exhibition professionals, who have years of years of experience in organising award-winning exhibitions. Our teams are embedded in their markets. As a result, associations and organisations ask to partner with us to help them deliver world-class service and execution of their events.

For further information, contact Rikki Bhachu, Head of Marketing, MA Exhibitions on email: or tel: 020 7738 5454

MA Exhibitions
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road,
London, SE24 0PB
Registered in England. No. 02120366

About the FMO

FMO (The Federation of Manufacturing Opticians), the voice of the UK optical industry, which has been established since 1917, remains as relevant to the world of optics today as when the organisation was first set up. Representing everyone involved in the optical industry, whether their business is concerned with equipment, lenses, frames, service provision, or supply and distribution.

As well as being the voice of the UK optical industry, The FMO also work closely with the other optical bodies as a founder member of the Optical Confederation which is the voice of the whole optical sector. The FMO are proud to be part of Optrafair, an internationally respected exhibition which is the launch pad for all that is new and exciting within the UK optical industry.

For further information, contact Bryony Pawinska, Chief Executive, FMO on email: or tel: 020 7298 5123

The Federation of Manufacturing Opticians
199 Gloucester Terrace,
London W2 6LD
Registered in England. No. 04506054