ISTANBUL 

In the post-coronavirus pandemic era, physical fairs will re-accelerate but digital events will not be held, that is according to the head of Turkey’s expo giant.

The pandemic changed business models in the exhibition industry by creating hybrid events — held both in-person and virtually, Ilhan Ersozlu told Anadolu Agency.

Digital platforms support physical events by around 30% but independent digital events are not sufficient in the sector, he added.

Business people gather in fairs, meet, and check products, he said, explaining that this is not possible with digital events.

Digital platforms enable people under lockdown measures or travel bans to attend events from afar.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, several organizers decided to hold digital or hybrid events to keep activities going.

While only 350-400 in-person fairs were held in Turkey during the pandemic, that figure will increase to 600-700 after the outbreak subsides, predicted Ersozlu.

Leading firms open branches in Turkey

Touching on the country’s position in the sector, Ersozlu said Turkey is on the rise with a share of around 1.5% of the global exhibition market that will expand to 5% within five years.

“Due to the pandemic, production had an axis shift from the Asia-Pacific to our geography,” he said.

Turkey will be a hub for the exhibition sector in the region, he stressed and noted that the top fairs in several sectors such as furniture, marble, textiles, and packaging would be organized in Turkey.

Leading fair companies in the world, from the UK and Germany to Russia and China, have opened branches in Turkey because the industry will gain significant ground in the country, he said.

Ersozlu underlined that the fair sector was narrowing in Western countries, leading major companies to look for new markets.

Significant events are planned for 2021 in Turkey, he added, such as one for the medical equipment sector, Expomed, and a major defense industry fair, IDEF.

Tuyap organizes about half of all expos in Turkey.

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