From February 11 to 13 Verona, in northern Italy, saw the peaceful invasion of more than 37,500 enthusiasts who came from all over Europe for EOS, the European Outdoor Show: 60,000 square meters of exhibition space with more than 330 booths.
At the show opening, Italy's Minister of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forestry, Francesco Lollobrigida, said he was pleasantly surprised by the event's following. "I am here to witness how intimately connected this world is with a model that represents the good part of the nation and that involves good people and the many sportsmen and sportswomen who honor us in the world by bringing home results of excellence. This is important for the economy, but also for culture because some firearms are true works of art."
Patrizio Carotta, CEO of EOS show, had previously outlined the industry numbers: "We made the most beautiful, attractive, immersive, engaging fair. More and more responsive to what 'made in Italy' production and the market deserve. It is strong, very strong: the made in Italy component in this sector is second only to that of the United States. Which is a source of pride and pushes us to aspire to something more also from the trade fair point of view."
2021 was yet another record year for Italian gun manufacturing: more than 1,140,000 sporting arms were made, 87 percent of which are exported worldwide. Leading the ranking are sporting and hunting long guns. The total value of the sector, including direct manufacturing and activities related to hunting and shooting, amounts to 7.5 billion euros, or 0.42 percent of GDP. And the number of people employed in the firearms and ammunition sector, including satellite activities, is 19,000; considering also hunting and shooting-related sectors, it reaches 80,000. It was an incredible year for the outdoor sector too: an overall increase of 27 percent for the Italian "sell in", with 986 million more products placed on the market – especially clothing and footwear, at +16 percent. The trend seems confirmed upward for last year (+17.4% sell-out recorded in the first months of 2022).
In Italy, there are about 2.5 million sport and recreational fishermen. The labor force involved is about 15,000. The induced business turnover can be estimated at about 2.8/3 billion euros and includes the expenses incurred by each fisherman.
Sport has extraordinary relevance. This was stressed by Luciano Rossi, president of the Italian Target Shooting Federation (FITAV) and very recently elected president of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF). Rossi presented the 2023 World Cup scheduled to be held in Italy, at the Concaverde shooting range, from July 8 to 17. Jean François Palinkas, president of the International Federation for Shooting with Sports Hunting Weapons (FITASC), acknowledged the world-leading role of the Italian sports organization and the Italian gun industry.
Pavilion 6 also held the international dog show of ENCI, the National Italian Kennel Association. Of particular importance, the conference on genetic research for canine species. Stefano Frattini, ENCI's geneticist, explained how important genetic testing is for promoting the welfare of dogs.
ENCI President Dino Muto reinforced the message by launching the new service that includes a laboratory test that covers the entire dog genome of the dog and the ENCI initiative called "Certified Breeder," which gives additional recognition to the most deserving breeders, according to restrictive parameters.
This year it was also possible to test the firearms at the Concaverde shooting range in Lonato, just 30 minutes from Veronafiere, which exceptionally for EOS also offered special rifle and pistol firing lines, with a shuttle bus service every 30 minutes from the EOS entrance.
The next appointment in Verona is next year, from February 17 to 19, with EOS 2024.