IFE: a great venue, but hard to get to Although the majority of the 1,450 exhibitors at IFE2001 gave the thumbs up to the change of venue from Earl's Court to ExCeL in London's Docklands, others had doubts. For while ExCeL was excellent logistically for exhibitors, some visitors recounted horror stories of their travel experiences. Many had to grapple with the too few and too packed trains of London's transport system. International and domestic visitors arriving from north or east London had a smoother ride, but for those from the south and west it was more problematic while many drivers complained of poor venue signposting (see Counterpoint page 138). Some exhibitors noted that trade was rather slow, particularly on the opening day. But speciality stands reported brisk interest from national and international buyers. Taste of the West trade development manager Sue Harvey said: "The speciality section was the busiest part of the show. Some of our members said they had covered the cost of attendance on the first day." An ice cream supplier suggested having a separate ice cream section to attract more serious ice cream buyers to the show. The alcohol and soft drinks section was one of the smallest. A beer importer said: "There are not enough beer suppliers at the show to give our section the critical mass to get the punters in." On the international front, the number of Canadian exhibitors doubled to 15 from the previous IFE. But as each had to pay a minimum of £8,000, one Canadian said they had to be committed to UK exports to make it pay. See Opinion, page 24 {{NEWS }}