TRADE FAIRS, AEFI: 267 INTERNATIONAL EVENTS (33 MORE THAN 2022) AND 264 NATIONAL EVENTS ON THE 2023 CALENDAR
DANESE (PRESIDENT OF AEFI): THE SECTOR RE-LAUNCHING FROM INTERNATIONALISATION, DRIVING TOURISM AND THE LOCAL ECONOMY
With 267 international events and 264 national appointments, the Italian trade fair sector is re-launching in 2023 recovering pre-pandemic results and performance with 33 international events (+14%) and 23 national ones (+10%) more on the agenda than last year. According to AEFI – the Association of Italian Trade Fair Exhibitions – commenting on the calendar drawn up by the Conference of Regions, this return will be propelled by the growing internationalisation of the Italian trade fair offering that is the driving force of an industry capable of generating a local impact quantifiable in EUR 22.5 billion per year, totally an added value estimated at EUR 10.6 billion (equal to 0.7% of the GDP), net of the business generated by companies at B2B events.
“Trade fairs are the fundamental link between the global economy and the nation’s manufacturing system”, said AEFI President Maurizio Danese. “Picking this up and presiding over key markets for Italian products is an increasingly essential asset for the development of the sector. The strategic course that the operators have already plotted is that of internationalising existing events and advancing incoming tourism and promotion abroad by teaming up with institutional partners. Today, even small trade fairs are moving in this direction, with equally important spin-offs in the areas in which they can attract high-spending business tourists”. What emerges is the success of formulas capable of enhancing excellence and typical products with an attention focused on the increase of local collateral initiatives in the tourism sector. According to the study conducted by Prometeia for AEFI last June, trade fairs operate with a multiplier of 2.4. In other words, every Euro of the added value generated directly by the trade fair system (by exhibitors, organisers and visitors) produces an additional 1.4 in the national economy.
Not by chance, leading the international events in the calendar are the Italian product sectors with the highest export propensity, specifically “textiles” (14% of events) and “food, beverage and hospitality” (11%), followed by “sports, hobbies, entertainment and art”, “technology and mechanics” and “jewellery, watches and accessories”. Lombardy, Emilia Romagna, Tuscany and Veneto are the regions hosting more than 70% of the international events, while most of the Italian national events are concentrated in Lombardy, Piedmont, Campania, Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Veneto and Apulia. The latter focus, in particular, on the “sport, hobbies, entertainment and art” (17%), “agriculture, forestry and animal husbandry” (14%) and “food, beverages and hospitality” (12%) sectors, as well as “furniture and interior design” (7%) and “textiles, clothing and fashion” (7%).
Again according to the data collected by Prometeia, the B2B trade fairs involve tens of thousands of Italian companies that perform 7 times better than the average Italian economy as a whole (+2% vs. +0.3% average annual growth in turnover from 2012 to 2019), an over-performance to which the trade fair system makes a distinctive contribution. The advantage gained by companies that took part in trade fairs between 2012 and 2019 can be estimated at 12.6 points more cumulative sales growth and 0.7 points more gross margin (EBITDA) than those who did not participate. AEFI accounts for almost 75% of the turnover of the entire sector. More in detail, 96% of the international events organised in Italy are held in the exhibition centres of the 41 association’s members (www.aefi.it).