AUMA. “The first big reunion of the exhibition family!” announces a pleased Hans-Joachim Boekstegers. The Chairman of the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (AUMA) greeted 400 representatives from fair operators, business and politics to the first AUMU MesseTreff (Exhibition Meeting) on 10 June 2008. The Capital Meeting and the Exhibition Forum trade conference have been sacrificed for it – and thus their contents. Trade forums such as on data protection are to make up for this, but are only open to members. It is a bit like an after-work party, only that everybody knows everybody else and not everyone could attend.
“All the indicators are positive,” reported Chairman Boekstegers. Last year 10.6 million visitors thronged to the 139 international exhibitions. 3.8 percent more than in 2006. They met 165,759 exhibitors (89,813 from abroad and 75,944 from Germany), whose stands on 6.7 million sq. m. grew by 4.6 percent.
Growth is driven by the foreign exhibitions of German organisers, as well as international visitors with a rise of 5.3 percent. “The number of foreign fairs has grown by almost 75 percent to 216 between 2003 and 2007,” informs Neven. The number of exhibitors even rose by 116 percent to 78,000. This included 7,500 SMEs in 2007. They participated in the foreign fair programme of the German Ministry for the Economy (BMWi), whose budget AUMA would like to see grow from 37 to 40 million Euros. The BMWi’s support programme for exhibition participation by new and innovative firms is also well-received.
The AUMA opened the gates to the world for young researchers at the Exhibition Meeting and brought the foundation “Youth Researches” onto the stage. “The raw materials of our country lie in the heads of our children,” stated Dr. Nico. P. Kock. The vice-Managing Director proudly reported: “150,000 young researchers have taken part in our competitions since 1965.” Such as Lisa Gutjahr on the climate change (“Will the melting of permanent frost areas in Northern Canada, Alaska and Siberia produce methane emissions or not”).
Hermann Scherer explains the “Rules for the pole position in tomorrow’s (exhibition) markets.” In our “overloaded” civilisation attention is vital, claims the marketing pro and refers to perception research. “We can’t follow anything anymore!” Exhibitions have to make their way into the episodic memory by means of stories. And they should be “sexy”. Scherer addresses the guests: “Who in this room is service-oriented?” All 400 hands shoot up into the air. “Who is innovative?” 300 hands go up. “And who is sexy?” Giggles – and the hands remain below. A pity. (Note of the editor: Invite the female head of the conference centre! See “Ladies’ Choice” CIM 2/2008).