Thursday, November 22, 2012


Expos and trade fair needs to match the global standards

The importance of trade fairs has never been so profound. The recent IITF 2012 opened the gates for budding as well as established enterprises to showcase their products and services that eventually allows them to display and project their services not only to their potential customers but to the entire region at large. The power of trade fairs notwithstanding, it is fascinating to delve into its genesis that dates back to the medieval era in Europe. Since then, its impact has grown from strength to strength through the industrial revolution in Britain and Europe and later in North America. The trade fairs, in fact, became the face of industrial revolution that reflected its vitality and showcased the same to the world.

The trade fairs, unlike consumer fairs, do not have any restrictions to curtail the entry of the general public. Thus, the hype that surrounds the event invites the participation of not only professionals and company representatives but also the intrigued public. The large trade fairs are gala affairs that attract an onslaught of advertisements and media frenzy that is, even sometimes, carried on as developmental strategy for the host city. The biggest trade fair in India is India International Trade Fair (IIFT) which takes place at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. It has entered its 32nd year in the 2012 event with a deep reservoir of strength in their roster of 7,000 exhibitors that include 350 overseas firms’ participation across 28 countries. It can also boast of 1 million visitors last year that turned the organisers proud that a world class trade fair atlas is beginning to take shape in India. Some of the other Indian trade fairs include the India Int’l Maritime Logistics Expo in Mumbai, International Leather Goods Fair in Kolkata, India International Leather Fair in Chennai, Arogya in Trissur and Aahar – The Int’l Food Fair in Shillong, to name a few.

However, in spite of commendable efforts to retool and upgrade the Indian trade fairs, it’s still way below the global standards. The Canton Fair held in Guangzhou, China draws 207,103 participants from across the globe taking place at a state-of-theart venue with world class infrastructure that’s beyond the imagination of the IIFT’s unglamorous grind. The total size of exhibitors in Guangzhou crossed 24,415 professionals hailing from over 200 countries with total business transaction touching a humongous $ 36,800 million last year. It boasts of wonderfully craft ed pavilions separately for national and international participants drawing huge pool of visitors. In its 105th session, the data for number of booths surpassed 55,800 with business turnover of $ 262.3 million and was attended by 165,436 visitors. In Germany, Angela Merkel endorsed a massive 134 international trade fairs that encompassed 159,945 exhibitors of whom 55.4 per cent are foreign nationals. Leading the pack of quality as well quantity gap is United States, which host 2,500 trade shows every year! The coveted top position is occupied by Consumer Electronics Association’s International CES held every year at Las Vegas Convention Center with an expansive 1,442,000 sq ft floor space, followed by The Association for Manufacturing Technology’s biennial International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago and Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute’s biennial Pack Expo also held in Las Vegas. These are world shows where Indian trade fairs don’t stand a chance to compete, be it scope, size or frequency. Indian shows, run-down and neglected looks need a boost at the earliest because in this age of publicity, Indian products and services along with its image should be light-years ahead of where Indian trade fairs are stuck in today!


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