06 Jul 2016 by: National Exhibition Centre National Exhibition Centre

The National Exhibition Centre (NEC) has announced that it will remain as the host of Optrafair for the next four years following successful contract negotiations with event organisers the Mark Allen Group (MAG).


MAG, a leading UK media company and owner of Optician Magazine, is contracted by The Federation of Manufacturing Opticians to run Optrafair. The event, which launched in 1978, is the UK's leading exhibition and educational conference dedicated to the needs of the optical profession. Valued by a community of practitioners, suppliers and educators to help expand knowledge, grow awareness of products and services, gain CET points and build business.


Ed Tranter, Managing Director of MAG events division MA Exhibitions, cited fantastic support from the industry and the NEC’s location in the heart of the UK as the key contributors to the decision to sign a new long term deal with the venue.


He said: “Optrafair has always received fantastic support from the optical industry so we were keen to sign a long term deal to highlight our confidence in the show and send out a really positive message to the industry. Similarly, we have had an extremely successful relationship with the NEC and know that our customers are happy with our venue of choice. Its central location within the UK gives us the widest possible visitor reach and its unrivalled connectivity by road, rail and air means that visitors can access the venue with ease. We look forward to working with the exceptional teams behind the scenes at the NEC to continue to develop and enhance the show and the experience of our visitors.”


Mark Truss is the Chairman of the FMO: “Optrafair is the must-attend event in the optical industry and continually attracts high profile exhibitors and large visitor numbers. We are confident that this success will continue over the next four years and beyond.”


Commenting on the new deal, Kathryn James, Managing Director of NEC Group Conventions and Exhibitions, said: “We are delighted that the organisers of Optrafair have made this long-term commitment to the NEC. The event is firmly established as the UK’s leading optical exhibition, and we intend to call on our 40 years’ experience in the industry to help ensure that it retains its status.”


Liz Cawley, the NEC Account Manager for Optrafair, added: “As a venue we are really keen to secure long term contracts as they ensure that our clients are able to reserve their favoured dates and they offer certainty to all stakeholders, so we are thrilled to have come to this mutually beneficial agreement with Optrafair. It has been a pleasure to work with the team in recent years and we are excited that we will welcome them back for at least the next four years.”



  • "Great day hosting our first AEV working group event!..WOW did I learn a lot and some great insights into how other venues work and the challenges they are trying to overcome. If you are a venue looking to network with other like minded professionals I would recommend looking at joining the AEV".
    Danielle Worker
    Corporate Events Team Leader, Silverstone Circuits Ltd
  • "“Great essential for a successful venue. The AEV provides a platform to establish consistent best practice in this field"
    Phil Wetz
    Retail & Catering Manager, ExCeL London
  • “The AEV provides collective representation for its member venues, turning individual commitment into a group effort"
    Paul Brough
    Venue Health & Safety Manager, Olympia London
  • "Proud to be part of this Cross Association discussion. I am confident in our ability to improve and progress our working platform through conversation".
    Amir Vered
    Head of eForce and IT, Olympia London (Chair of Cross Association Technology WG)
  • “The AEV is essential to the venue sector’s ability to cooperate and collaborate"
    Jazmin Beale
    Head of Marketing & Communications, Olympia London
  • “The AEV undertakes crucial work on behalf of event venues up and down the country to ensure our voice is heard. They reinforce the important role our sector plays in delivering economic impact, increasing trade, providing jobs and driving the visitor economy.”
    Lucy Merritt
    Head of Marketing and Communications, ExCeL London
  • AEV Membership is a key part of our business strategy; it has and will continue to be a core elements of our plan to support knowledge sharing in the industry and to develop both our team and the venue.
    Kate Vandenburg
    Marketing Director - Business Design Centre
  • Our team at ACC Liverpool feel indebted to the substantial work that the AEV do for our amazing industry. As the pillar association for venues across the country it’s a real privilege for our teams to participate in many of the working groups, learning and contributing to new processes which helps drive our industry forward on a national scale.
    Colm Graham
    Senior Exhibition Account Manager, ACC Liverpool
  • We have benefited hugely from all of the insight, discussion, events and networking, but it has also meant that we have been able to give back to the industry by sharing our unique experiences and professional knowledge and allowing our employees to help lead and shape the Association from the inside.
    Mathew James
    Head of Brand, Telford International Centre
  • “The AEV has been an invaluable asset to us as a company and the wider industry, helping to lobby on the industries behalf, consolidating and distributing information and facilitating vital knowledge sharing.”
    Charlie Hodgson
    Managing Director at The Kia Oval