Germany 2016: 11 times around the world

How do you get international visitors to come to Germany? Ideally, approach them in their home countries. Messe Düsseldorf’s drupa team has been doing just that since September.

The strongest foreign visitor contingent at the last edition of drupa fair in Düsseldorf four years ago came from India. (Photo: Messe Düsseldorf, Constanze Tillmann)
The strongest foreign visitor contingent at the last edition of drupa fair in Düsseldorf four years ago came from India. (Photo: Messe Düsseldorf, Constanze Tillmann)

The world’s largest printing industry fair is scheduled for 31 May to 10 June 2016. Preparations started up in earnest over two months ago. Presentations, press conferences and meetings with the trade press have since been held in Asia, Europe and the US. Over 40 drupa events of all kinds are taking place around the world, on every continent, until well into February 2016. So the drum is being well and truly banged internationally. Messe Düsseldorf also wants to inform people about the latest trends and innovations. The activities range from smaller meetings with experts and the press to all-day industry workshops and presentations to audiences of several hundred. “Our communications and marketing mix consists of ads, mailings, online campaigns, sponsorship activities, PR and press work,” says drupa director Sabine Geldermann. “The world tour has a central role to play in this. We make direct contact with potential visitors and those who are key to promoting the event in order to give them the latest at first hand.”

A further benefit of these activities is the feedback they provide. In a direct exchange you can sound out where people’s specific interests and needs lie. By the time they finish their world tour, the drupa ambassadors will have flown about 440,000 km – equivalent to almost 11 times around the world. Almaty in Kazakhstan, where a print promotion workshop is being held, is a recent addition to drupa’s world map. The most distant destination is Auckland in New Zealand, around 18,000 km from Düsseldorf on the other side of the world. International activities like this are an important way to tap new markets, as well. While typical buyer markets such as Germany or the US have been plagued by crises in the last ten years, others are emerging. The biggest contingent of visitors from abroad at the last drupa, four years ago, came from India. Around 15,000 buyers travelled from the subcontinent. This gives an indication of where the potential lies for the printing industry in the future (www.drupa.de).

Hanover: hall to be set aside for refugees until March 2016

Wolfram von Fritsch (Photo: Deutsche Messe)
Wolfram von Fritsch (Photo: Deutsche Messe)

Like other German trade fair companies, Hanover-based Deutsche Messe is helping to provide accommodation for refugees. The company is providing an exhibition hall from the beginning of December until mid-March 2016, shortly before CeBIT. “We see, of course, how Hanover is continuing to struggle to cope with the high numbers of refugees,” argues Wolfram von Fritsch, chairman of Deutsche Messe’s managing board. “And we like to help where we can.” “We have managed to make Hall 27 available continuously for a period of over three months.” This will give the refugees accommodation over the winter months, regardless of the weather. To make this happen, Deutsche Messe had to negotiate intensively with its partners. It wasn’t easy, because originally the company didn’t have a hall continuously available for such a long period. “We found our customers to be very understanding of the situation,” says von Fritsch. All those affected have now agreed to their events being moved to a different part of the site. “We are delighted to be able to help the city of Hanover again,” adds the trade fair boss. In the summer the company made Hall 21 available as refugee accommodation. Deutsche Messe staff demonstrated great solidarity with the refugees, bringing clothing, bicycles and footballs to the collection centre set up for the purpose. Some provided language classes in their free time, and private contacts also developed. One group of refugees produced a large painting and presented it to the hall inspector on their departure. The painting now adorns the entrance foyer of the office block at the north entrance (www.messe.de).

Author: Peter Borstel

This article was published in TFI issue 6/2015

 
 

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