It is with great pleasure that I want to invite you all to the next World Footwear Congress.
As you know the congress is an initiative of the European Footwear Confederation (CEC) to promote collaboration between worldwide stakeholders. For that reason, we select a different location in the world on each edition. The last two years will go down in history books as the start of a new economic and social era. We have lived under all the restrictions of a pandemic that has devastated economies, destroyed jobs and jeopardized the continuation of many businesses. Just after, we saw moving fast to a booming consumption in some parts of the world. But The war in Ukraine has brought inflation to the developed markets as we have not seen for the last 30 years. High interest rates and recession are now on the menu for 2023.
Our economies entered a 'roller coaster' as never seen in our lifetime.
As a result of such series of events, this is the most appropriate moment to bring together all players of the footwear industry and have a reflection about the future. No one knows how companies and countries should prepare for this new economic and social era. That is why we are inviting you all to Istanbul next May. Since 2003, when the World Footwear Congress started with an initiative by Fortunato Frederico, APICCAPS and CEC President at that time, the congress has changed a lot.
I would like to remember the various supporting organizations that helped to organize all previous editions during the last two decades.
I must remember the last edition of the congress in Naples in April 2019, and thank our Italian friends who organized it. At that time, we were living, what we can call now under a 'normal' business and social environment. Everything has overturned, and today the congress is more relevant than ever, and because of that we all should join the discussions and participate in this seventh edition of the World Footwear Congress.
Last but not least, I would like to address a special word to our Turkish partners. together with CEC, they are deeply involved in organizing this congress edition. I'm confident Turkey is the appropriate place to host such event. Online meetings have become a new normality, but on this special occasion, the footwear industry should again be physically together on a single place.
To conclude, I would like to close this message with a positive perspective for our industry. We have already faced many challenges together, and only by joining efforts and working together wewill be able to respond to the challenges the world is bringing to us.I look forward to meeting you all in Istanbul next May.