During 40 years of communism, trade shows on Slovak soil were visited largely by the braver citizens of the then-Czechoslovak Federation. The western cars, computers and electronic gadgets on display, say eyewitnesses, had a thrilling air of the forbidden about them.
Not so now, of course. After eight full years of capitalism, Slovak fair-goers are a price-hardened, quality-conscious bunch - and they come back, in annually increasing droves. Many exhibitors see this consumer enthusiasm as a function of the 'novelty factor.' The Slovak market economy is still young enough that consumers are interested in its lower-profile happenings, such as 'dental equipment' exhibitions and 'tools and ironware' fairs.
The ever-increasing attendance figures, surprisingly, are not a blessing for all firms. Some find their expensive booths thronged by children and casual visitors, while others say that
18. Dec 1997 at 0:00 | Tom Nicholson