THE BANSKÁ Bystrica exhibitions firm BB Expo expects to attract more solvent exhibitors in 2006 and at least the same number of visitors as last year. The company aims to attract more professional visitors and tighten the focus of its fairs and exhibitions.
Some 450 companies took part in fairs and exhibitions in Banská Bystrica in 2005, a moderate 4-percent increase over 2004, of which 10 percent came from abroad, mainly from the Czech Republic.
More than 40,000 visitors attended BB Expo events, about the same as in the previous year.
"I'm sure 2006 will be a better year given the expected growth in the economy, which will boost the number of firms participating and the amount of space rented. I expect to see the most growth in fairs dealing with construction, environment, regional development, energy conservation, tourism and hotels," said BB Expo director Dušan Kováč.
So far, Slovakia's accession to the EU in 2004 has not brought more foreign exhibitors to BB Expo, apart from Czech firms. However, the company expects firms from other neighbouring countries to join its exhibitions in 2006.
Foreign exhibitors tend to appreciate the price-to-quality ratio, Kováč said. He believes that foreign firms would welcome more information on fair and exhibition calendars and that they are ready to move further afield from the Slovak capital to the country's regions.
However, this development could be hastened by legislative help. "The fair and exhibition sector would develop faster if foreign exhibitors were exempted from paying VAT on area rented and services provided in Slovakia. In the same way, Slovak exhibitors could be exempted from VAT when taking part in fairs abroad," Kováč said.
"European legislation should be harmonised in this area."
Last year, BB Expo introduced some new activities in its fair and exhibition schedule, for example, the RIS exhibition of waste and recycling. The first RIS welcomed 28 companies focused on waste management and waste separation.
"The recycling industry is an industry of the future, and every European country has similar events," Kováč said.
The environment will also dominate the popular For Region fair in 2006, which is traditionally centred on regional development. This year For Region will highlight renewable energy sources and sustainable growth.
For Arch, an international construction fair and the second largest of its kind in Slovakia, was BB Expo's most successful exhibition in 2005.
It welcomed 271 participating firms leasing a total of 4,835 square metres. About 29,000 visitors attended the fair, a 6-percent increase year-on-year.
|Selected Events in the BB Expo 2006 Calendar|
For Arch (May 2-5)
For Region (May 2-5)
Utility Vehicles (May 2-5)
RIS (May 2-5)
Sport Line (September 20-22)
Hotel (September 20-22)
Slovak Winter (September 20-22)