Italy: Business gets boost from abroad

This year BolognaFiere posted encouraging visitor growth. And its participation in Expo 2015 put its food expertise into the spotlight. 

One of the most popular events is Cosmoprof. (Photo: BolognaFiere)
One of the most popular events is Cosmoprof. (Photo: BolognaFiere)

Italy’s economy is gradually recovering. At Bologna’s exhibition centre President Duccio Campagnoli is relieved about the first timid signs of a recovery. For him, especially the strong rise in foreign trade visitors and exhibitors is a clear indication of growth. He says that most of them came from Eastern Europe, Asia, Turkey and the USA.  “In 2014 we posted a 16 per cent gain in international trade visitors,” says Campagnoli. The activities of foreign buyers even went up 20 per cent. In total, the President of BolognaFiere is more than satisfied with the development in Bologna. “Economically speaking, we are in a good place now,” he summarises the last few years and adds: “Especially our events abroad generated excellent profits.” 

The trade fair also has an excellent position on the domestic market with events representing many of the most important industries in Italy and the Emilia Romagna region. According to President Campagnoli one of the most popular events this year was Cosmoprof Worldwide, the leading international event for the professional beauty sector. At the end of the event, the organisers counted 20 per cent more visitors than in the previous year. The eminent cosmetics fair again showed its pulling power beyond Italy: 70 per cent of the almost 2,500 exhibitors were from abroad. The recently ended International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings also proved to be a crowd magnet. 

President Duccio Campagnoli likes to point out the participation of his BolognaFiere in Expo 2015. (Photo: BolognaFiere)
President Duccio Campagnoli likes to point out the participation of his BolognaFiere in Expo 2015. (Photo: BolognaFiere)

Apart from the fairs’ economic success Duccio Campagnoli likes to point out his centre’s participation in Expo 2015. “Feeding the Planet. Energy for Life,” was the motto of the world exhibition. “The Italian government entrusted us with the task of staging a biodiversity park in Milan,” he explains. “As the organisers of Sana, the international exhibition of organic and natural products, we were able to contribute our expertise in the field of healthy food and organic agriculture.” BolognaFiere impressively showed that organic farming and biodiversity are inextricably linked.

As one of the highlights at Expo in Milan he singled out Organic Week, a joint project by Bologna Fiere, NürnbergMesse and IFOAM, the international umbrella organisation for organic farmers. “At this event in early September we discussed how organic farming contributes not only to the world’s food supply but also to sustainability and biodiversity,” Campagnoli told us, “and how we can shape the future of the global organic sector.” Other focal themes of Organic Week were world nutrition, the United Nations’ International Year of Soils, and the future of the organic food industry: Organic 3.0. Sana also received a major boost in Bologna from its participation in Expo. “It is now Europe’s number two fair having gained 25 per cent more exhibitors and 45 per cent more international buyers,” says the delighted President. In future, he wants to offer exhibitors even more floor space, a larger service area and a better traffic infrastructure. Among other things, there are plans for direct access roads to the motorway and airport (www.bolognafiere.it).

Italy: Vitamins for BolognaFiere

When it comes to agriculture and hospitality BolognaFiere has quite a lot to offer. These are also South Tyrol’s two major areas of economic expertise.

The Apple Queen does the honours at Interpoma. (Photo: Messe Bozen)
The Apple Queen does the honours at Interpoma. (Photo: Messe Bozen)

Their names are Fuji, Pink Lady, Jazz and Kanzi. They are all apple varieties from South Tyrol. Interpoma, the international apple trade fair in Bolzano, will be all about growing, storing and marketing apples again in November 2016. Visitors are full of expectations for the show, which is one of the most important in Bolzano. But the apple fair has also made a name for itself on an international level. In 2014 one visitor in four was from abroad, 16 per cent even came from outside Europe. The organisers also hope to further strengthen their position as the world’s only and most important event dedicated entirely to apples. 

In Bolzano the apple industry takes turns every two years with Agrialp, the Trade Show for Alpine Agriculture. The motto of this year’s show for farmers from 6 to 9 November is “Good Grounds for Regional Produce”. Once again it promises to be an informative and comprehensive forum of South Tyrol’s agricultural sector. The events “Hotel” for the hospitality industry and “Klimahouse” on energy-efficient construction have contributed to Fiera Bolzano’s good results of the past few years. “Thanks to the positioning of these trade fairs, which represent our country’s major areas of economic expertise, we can present shows that adequately reflect South Tyrol’s most important sectors,” says Thomas Mur, who took over at the helm of Fiera Bolzano last September. 

For 2016 he also expects the upward trend to continue in Bolzano. Apart from crowd-pulling Interpoma a new event in the field of food and agriculture is to boost growth. “In February we will see the debut of Agridirect, Italy’s unique new trade show for agricultural direct marketing,” announces Thomas Mur. The event is dedicated to another sector that has a long tradition in South Tyrol and is very successful in Italy. “In addition, the event reflects the ever advancing structural change of the agricultural sector,” says Mur. “Firstly towards fewer but larger farms to withstand rising price and innovation pressures,” he says, “and secondly towards small, sometimes part-time, farms who specialise in regional organic niche products and want to engage directly with consumers.” (www.fierabolzano.it). 

Author: Karin Fink

This article was published in TFI issue 5/2015

 
 

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