Austria: Alpine themes in Innsbruck and Salzburg

Mountain landscapes like the Alps present us and our infrastructure with special challenges. Viatec and Acqua Alta Alpina show how we can rise to them.

Natural disaster management: Michael Gelinek (trade fair consultant), Henrik Häcker, Michaela Glinz (both Messezentrum Salzburg) and Leonhard Krimpelstätter (flood protection). (Photo: Messezentrum Salzburg / Wild + Team)
Natural disaster management: Michael Gelinek (trade fair consultant), Henrik Häcker, Michaela Glinz (both Messezentrum Salzburg) and Leonhard Krimpelstätter (flood protection). (Photo: Messezentrum Salzburg / Wild + Team)

Viatec, which was staged in Bolzano last year, is returning to Messe Innsbruck from 19 to 21 February 2014. The 10th international trade fair for Alpine transport infrastructure is concerned with all aspects of road, bridge and tunnel building and maintenance. “Viatec is still developing as a trade fair,” explains Christian Mayerhofer, managing director of Congress und Messe Innsbruck. “We are expecting around 100 exhibitors, 2,000 visitors and 600 convention delegates,” adds Mayerhofer. Viatec will be running at the same time as Innocom, Western Austria’s largest trade fair for local authorities, which will be taking place in the Olympic city for the first time. Innocom provides a comprehensive overview of the work of the procurement network Gemnova – and of practical ideas, products and services that help local authorities to actively shape the future of Tyrol’s communities, towns, cities and regions. “The fair also serves as an information and communication platform for mayors, heads of department and local authority workers in Tyrol,” says Mayerhofer.  

There is a comprehensive programme of speakers at Viatec, focusing on road maintenance, avalanche protection, fleet management and liability issues. Brennercongress, an international symposium on the Brenner Base Tunnel, will be taking place at the same time. The Brenner Base Tunnel, a monumental railway project due to be completed in 2025, will enable goods and passenger trains to pass under the Alps from Tulfes in Tyrol to Fortezza in Italy. The tunnel will have a total length of 64 kilometres, making it the longest railway tunnel in the world. Viatec and Innocom are staged annually and, as joint Austrian-Italian projects, alternate between Innsbruck and Bolzano – as do the winter technology fairs Interalpin (Innsbruck) and Prowinter (Bolzano). This allows them to tap a larger market. “Bolzano is very focused on Italy,” explains Christian Mayerhofer. “We cover the rest of the market, particularly the German-speaking countries but also eastern Europe” (

Christian Mayerhofer, Managing Director of Congress und Messe Innsbruck, talking to exhibitors. (Photo: Congress und Messe Insbruck)
Christian Mayerhofer, Managing Director of Congress und Messe Innsbruck, talking to exhibitors. (Photo: Congress und Messe Insbruck)

Alpine regions such as the Czech Republic, Austria, Bavaria, Switzerland, South Tyrol and Slovakia are plagued by natural disasters. “We have recognised the need to consider all aspects of this issue as well as its importance for the Alpine countries,” reports Henrik Häcker. “That’s why we are again staging our combined convention and trade fair focusing on making the Alpine environment safe,” emphasises the managing director of Messezentrum Salzburg: Acqua Alta Alpina, which revolves around the management of natural hazards, will be taking place from 12 to 14 March 2014. Natural hazards in this context are primarily avalanches, mudslides, rockfalls and flooding, and there is also a focus on hazard zone planning. The issue is clearly a topical one: when the rain seemed like it would never stop last June and the levels of many rivers rose to threatening levels, many districts were declared disaster areas.

Areas in Upper and Lower Austria were particularly badly affected, while in Tyrol and the city of Salzburg the situation eased somewhat more quickly. At times the levels of the rivers Danube, Inn and Salzach were above the levels reached in the historic flooding of 2002. A disaster was again avoided in the city of Salzburg thanks to the flood defences within the city limits, which were put in place at a cost of around 14 million euros. Two new elements have been added for the third Acqua Alta Alpina in 2014: Forst Austria, a combined conference and fair focusing on mountain forest management, and Hydropower, another conference and fair. “All issues around making the Alpine environment a safe one are thus covered” (


Messe Wels: new line of business

Michael Horninger (l.), Robert Schneider (Photo: Messe Wels)
Michael Horninger (l.), Robert Schneider (Photo: Messe Wels)

Previously, exhibitors in Wels had to rely on third companies for exhibition stand construction, but now these services can be offered directly. Since October, Messe Wels has been offering exhibition stand construction under the brand name Wedesign. Close customer relationships were the reason why Messe Wels set up its new division. “We want to provide our customers with the best possible service,” says Robert Schneider, managing director of Messe Wels. “We can do that best right here on site.” The company managed to recruit Michael Horninger to take charge of the new exhibition stand construction division. Horninger has over 15 years of experience in exhibition stand planning and construction for events. This ambitious project was designed to cover all trade fairs in Wels right from the outset, but the intention is to expand into other event venues in future. The signs are good. “It’s going really well,” enthuses trade fair centre boss Robert Schneider. “The phones were ringing even before the official launch, and we were already in contact with many exhibitors.” The Wedesign division covers all aspects of event and exhibition stand construction – from standard exhibition stands to custom stands of designer quality, and from manufacturing walls for trade fairs to a full service including furnishing and equipment for a high-quality event infrastructure. The “We” part of the name Wedesign hints not just at the fact that this is a service provided directly by Messe Wels but also at the brand’s approach, in which the customer and provider work together as a team (


Author: Peter Borstel

This article was published in TFI issue 1/2014


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