The power of fairs
The industry of Italian exhibitions is solid and growing, it can bring economic well being to the entire Country
IAll over the world on the sixth of June the World Day of Exhibi ons has been celebrated: it’s a moment of “celebra on”, but especially to think about the world of exhibi ons, which takes advantages of this event to let people, not involved in the industry, know the poten al of manifesta ons. In par cular, the event has, of course, showed Italian fairs, emphasising the posi ve impact on employment, economic ac vi es, innova on, local invest ments. It has also highlighted how fairs are a mee ng and confronta on place and a centre for launching crea vity and talent. This year the World Day of Exhibi ons was also an opportunity to present globally events linked by the theme “The Power of Exhibi ons”. Globally, the fair industry is an authen c engine for development, and numbers confirm it: according to the UFI ( The Global Associa on for the Exhibi on Industry) data, expenditure of exhibitors
and visitors is € 98 billion, the employed people are 680,000 and they grow to 1.8 millions if we consider the consequent work namely transporta on, accommoda on, catering. Based on studies conducted also in our Country and that find confirma on in the recent interna onal trade analysis, conducted by UFI worldwide, 1 euro, invested in fairs, generates 2 euros of direct consequent work and 8 euros of indirect consequent work. In short, it’s clear that we are talking about a “business” which involves or can involve different tourist and logis c enterprises, but not only. And, on the occasion of the celebra on day, also AEFI (Italian Exhibi on and Trade Fair Associa on) has considered to stage in Rome, in the wonderful scenery of Adriano Temple Room in the Capitolina Chamber of Commerce, a big event on the subject of the economic capacity of the expo industry and en tled indeed “The strength of Italian Fairs”.
Spreading out our excellences
The first to speak was the President of AEFI, E ore Riello: «Every year, all over the world, there are 31,000 fair events that involve 260 million of visitors and 4,400,000 exhibi ng companies. A set ng where we may say proudly that Italy is one of the main characters: in fact, it’s at second place in Europe and fourth in the world s ll today. With approximately 1,000 planned events by the end of 2018, where 209 of them are interna onal, the industry plays an important role in the Italian economy. Regarding the Italian economy we might say with certainty that Italian fairs are already extraordinary assets: it’s sufficient to say that they generate a business of €60 billion and give rise to 50% of the export for Italian companies a ending these events. Moreover, fairs are a fundamental tool for the development of the 75,3% of small and medium sized Italian enterprises. However, it would be reduc ve – as underlined by Riello – to discuss the role of fairs, in Italy and worldwide, considering only the economic aspect. The worth of their work goes far beyond and it contributes to the spreading of our values, excellencies and Italian crea vity, which the whole world envies us. That’s the reason why this World Day of Fairs represents also an opportunity to take stock of the situa on of a solid industry that, in addi on, offers numerous career opportuni es. An industry in constant evolu on, which, despite some difficul es, it’s able to be innova ve and to innovate, to adapt to the market and to
consumers changes, to take the opportuni es offered by digital world in order to extend the event beyond the exhibi on moment. It must be added that, according to UFI, more than the 70% of the districts and of the event organisers is developing new ac vi es just to meet the needs of a constantly changing market, also and especially in geopoli cal terms. The protec onism escala on risks penalising our economy, that grows in this moment thanks to export sales, with manoeuvres that might affect the export for 3 points. It’s enough to consider that only with Iran, with which we were among the first to sign a protocol of intent, our Country has several billion of export at risk. In this global perspec ve is however undeniable that fairs are a booster for our enterprises and economy. We as AEFI have always supported the necessity to “create a system” in Italy in order to be strong and compe ve. In this sense we cooperate with associa ons and organisa ons both at na onal and interna onal level with the aim of building alliances to create synergies. For this reason – concluded Riello –, AEFI is increasingly ac ve in ini a ves aimed at the interna onalisa on of fairs and of companies a ending them, thanks to the job of a dedicated “Commission”, seizing new opportuni es on the global market and adap ng itself with flexibility to a profoundly changing context. Along with ins tu onal and important partners such as the Agenzia ICE, SACE and SIMEST, we believe that fairs represent a big growth opportunity. This is especially true in such a complex me for our Made in Italy, that has a long way to go to actualise its full poten al». «The ICE’s report with the Italian system of fairs», President of Agenzia ICE said in this regard Michele Scannavini, «are and con nue to be a priority axis of promo on which supports the internalisa on of small and medium sized Italian enterprises. In 2017, the ICE has supported 50 fairs, the most representa ve of Made in Italy in their respec ve sectors, involving 5,700 foreign operators and organising 52,000 b2b mee ngs. This year the target will be to exceed 6 thousand foreign operators with an upgrading of business mee ngs numbers. We also coun ng on the coopera on with single events to improve their visibility abroad».
Evolving and at the forefront
During the event “The strength of Italian Fairs” the report prepared ad hoc by experts of The University of Milan and en tled “Italian fairs as center for launching crea vity and talent” was introduced to the specialists and the stakeholders of this industry. This research was cu ng edge and it was done by the Giulio
Sapelli, full professor having the chair of History of Economics in the Milanese athenaeum. Star ng from a picture of the current macroeconomic context, it has showed the importance of fairs role in a geopoli cal context that is con nuously evolving. «The Italian economy», said Sapelli, «has
always grown thanks to dynamism of fairs. The industrial development reached the top in the early twen eth century in line with the success of the socalled na onal exhibi ons. In addi on, the crea on of fair networks has always coincided with the growth of our economic and territorial systems. Then, the development of small and medium sized enterprises, structurally involved with the ongoing technological revolu on in the material goods and capitals trade, saw the Italian fairs in the front row to guarantee the resilience of our economy. This is the key theme: Italy has withstood the global crisis and has held its posi on in the secular defla on started with the crisis of the first decade of 2000. This was made possible thanks to the con nuity that has been guaranteed between produc on, marke ng, exchange of products owner of our enterprises and especially thanks to the fair system. A mul modal system, with territorial specialisa ons and commercial diversifica ons which ensure the coexistence of mul dimensional and several fair formats». In the subsequent debate important agents of the Italian fair industry, such as
Fabrizio Curci, Chief Execu ve Officer of Fiera Milano, have spoken. He examined the close link between fair and city, defined as a stage of events, which is able to encourage crea vity at interna onal level: « Our five years plan is based, for example, on the solidity of business model, on the characteris c of the excellence of Fiera Milano, that are further strengthened by investments on district, and also on the a rac veness of Milan and its interna onality. We will focus on the organic growth of events, on improving the access to services and on the efficiency of costs. Then, another fundamental issue of the plan will be the enhancement of our human resources, an indispensable element for the achievement of prefixed objec ves». Finally, according to Lorenzo Cagnoni, President of Rimini Fiere: «The whole Italian fair system should be cohesive to aim at a real support by the Government, promo ng the Italian product in the world, in the sugges ve se ng of our Country. Italy is a manufacturing, agrarian and ar san Country: in this context fairs contribute to give a total image of sectors integra ng the tradi on of products to the excellence of technology, thus, characterising the pres ge of Made in Italy. All that remains for us to do is to concentrate, speaking in work terms, on making fairs and conferences which may be able to relaunch even more the Country and its economy».
Ogni anno nel mondo vanno in scena 31mila fiere che coinvolgono 260 milioni di visitatori. Every year, all over the world, there are 31.000 fairs that involve 260 million of visitors
Sono 200 le fiere internazionali che si faranno in Italia nel 2019. For 2019 the interna onal fairs planned in Italy are 200