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Coneco, Slovakia's largest trade fair, expands

Slovakia's largest trade fair, the building and construction exhibition Coneco, has become even bigger by adding three new halls at the Incheba convention center in Bratislava. The 19th annual fair is running at a different time of year, March 17-20 instead of May, for the first time in its history, which has caused fair organizers some anxiety. The change in season hasn't deterred the interest of exhibitors, some 959 firms from 12 European countries and Slovakia, who have requested more floor space for their creative showcases.
But not everyone is satisfied with the fair. Some exhibitors have complained that it is too overwhelming and the benefits too small compared with competing fairs like the May construction exhibition in Brno, Coneco's traditional competitor. Still, most agree that Coneco is worth visiting, especially if a company wants to do business in Slovakia.



Slovakia's largest trade fair, the building and construction exhibition Coneco, has become even bigger by adding three new halls at the Incheba convention center in Bratislava. The 19th annual fair is running at a different time of year, March 17-20 instead of May, for the first time in its history, which has caused fair organizers some anxiety. The change in season hasn't deterred the interest of exhibitors, some 959 firms from 12 European countries and Slovakia, who have requested more floor space for their creative showcases.

But not everyone is satisfied with the fair. Some exhibitors have complained that it is too overwhelming and the benefits too small compared with competing fairs like the May construction exhibition in Brno, Coneco's traditional competitor. Still, most agree that Coneco is worth visiting, especially if a company wants to do business in Slovakia.

Some of the fair's biggest boosters hail from Slovakia's neighbors, Austria and the Czech Republic. "For the second straight time, about 10 Austrian Companies are going to attend," said Katarína Dragschits, the Austrian Chamber of Commerce's business attaché. "I am convinced that these companies have been satisfied with the fair. Most of them would like to get a strong position on the Slovak market and this fair gives them an opportunity to get it."

The Ministry of Industry and Trade in the Czech Republic ordered the Brno fair organizer (Brnenskť veltrhy a vystavy a.s., Brno Fairs and Exhibitions) to put together a group of Czech companies to go to Coneco. This will be the third year in a row that Czech companies have participated, with 25 companies coming in 1996, and 83 now in 1998. "Coneco has the largest number of Czech exhibitors of any foreign fair that Czech companies participate in," said Pavel Prochádzka, from the Ministry of Industry and Trade for the Czech Republic.

The large number of exhibitors and visitors are keeping companies coming back. "We have been present at Coneco for five years now," said Laura Marková, director of advertising and promotion at the building savings bank VÚB Wüstenrot. "Our strategy is to select fairs based on their professional character as well as how many visitors attend them. Coneco scores high on both counts."

The numbers back her claim. The number of visitors has almost tripled in three years to 67,000 people, and the number of exhibitors, though declining in 1998 to 959 from 1040 in 1997, still makes Coneco the largest fair in Slovakia. To cater to industry professionals, the fair is open the first day only to building and construction specialists, not the general public. Between three and five conferences and seminars will be held every day.

So, there will be plenty to see and do in the jam-packed 65,000 m2 space, which consists of one giant hall, two medium-sized ones and six smaller areas. "I think a fair-goer needs all four days," said Marin Gál, director of the association of construction businessmen in Slovakia. "It is impossible to see everything in one day."

Some fair-goers expressed concern over the huge size of the event. "Coneco is such a big fair, and you need so much time to see everything, that it's kind of exhausting for everyone," said Marková.

Others expressed dissatisfaction with fair results. "Coneco is not our priority," said Jozef Frankovský, a manager at Banské stavby Prievidza. "But we attend it as visitors. We prefer to go to the Building Fair in Brno, which is more interesting for us because it has a longer tradition and a wider international character. We have a better chance of meeting potential clients there, and in terms of the exhibition area, the standard is higher."

Neither Coneco organizer Incheba nor fair organizers in Brno would admit that there was any competition between the two building fairs. "I think you can't say that these two fairs compete with each other," said Jaroslav Hlouček, Fair Manager of Brno Fairs and Exhibitions. "It's true that they send the same message. But they are in two different countries, so they cover two different markets," he said.

Coneco schedule of events

Date: March 16,1998, 8.00
Topic: Conservation of Energy Consumption in Lighting
Location: Ministry of Economy of the SR, Mierová Street, Bratislava
Organizer: Energy Institute SEI - EA

Date: March 17, 1998, 10.00
Topic: The Engineer - Protector of the Environment
Lecturer: Jozef Trokan
Location: Mirror Hall of the Primaciálny Palace
Organizer: Slovak Chamber of Construction Engineers

Date: March 17, 1998, 10.00
Topic: The Assessment and Accounting of Heating Expenses
Location: Doprastav, Košická street
Organiser: Slovak Association for Environment Technology

Date: March 17, 1998, 18.00
Topic: ZSPS General Meeting
Location: Congress Hall, Cinema C

Date: March 18, 1998, 8.00 - 18.00
Topic: Quality Norms of Above-Ground Buildings - Preparation and Construction
Location: Congress Hall, Cinema C
Organiser: House of Technology ZSVTS

Date: March 18, 1998, 8.30
Topic: Cogeneration Units
Organiser: Slovak Association for Environment Technology
Location: Doprastav, Košická street

Date: March 18, 1998, 9.00
Topic: Commutative Energy Today
Organiser: BYVIP s.r.o.
Location: Ministry of Economy of the SR, Mierová street

Date: March 18, 1998, 15.00
Topic: T.A.Olymp - Company Presentation
Location: Hall C, Gallery II

Date: March 18, 1998, 11.00
Topic: Renewable Energy Resources - Solar Energy
Location: SEI, Hall B, Stand number 300

Date: March 18,1998, 13.00
Topic: Renewable Energy Resources - Bio-gas
Location: SEI, Hall B, Stand number 300

Date: March 19, 1998, 13.00
Topic: Waxes in Construction and Energy
Location: Congress Hall, Cinema C
Organiser: House of Technology, ZSVTS

Date: March 19, 1998, 11.00
Topic: Cogeneration - The Latest Method of Heat and Electricity Production
Location: SEI, Hall B, Stand number 300

Date: March 19, 1998, 14.00
Topic: The Best of Coneco/Racioenegia '98 - Expo Awards
Location: Congress Hall, Cinema C

Date: March 20, 1998, 10.00
Topic: Windows and Doors, and Their Future Development in Europe
Location: Congress Hall C, Gallery I
Lecturer: Josef Schmidt

Date: March 20, 1998, 10.00
Topic: SIGMA, Consumer Pumps
Location: Congress Hall C, Gallery II

Date: March 20, 1998, 11.00
Topic: Student Competition, Year II - held by the Hebel Architecture Company

Motto: The Automobile - A Symbol of Time
Location: Cinema of Congress, Hall C

Date: March 20, 1998, 11.00
Topic: Energy Production and the Environment
Location: SEI, Hall B, Stand number 300

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