All governments are involved at some level in the trade fair and conference business. There are very good reasons for this. For example, exhibitions provide an ideal stage to showcase industrial and service capabilities of a country or to bring innovation and trade to the country. It is an excellent advertisement for the country or the region as a place to do business. Conferences on the other hand are more focused on the promotion of a city on a national and international stage as a business and tourist hotspot. Especially international conferences can influence a city’s reputation and raise awareness of the city as an attractive destination. For this reason, many cities have set up a professional convention bureau with the aim to foster the city’s conference business.
Beyond that and just as important; exhibitions and large conferences have the potential to bring significant economic value-add activity in the form of increased demand for hotels, restaurants, transportation and many other ancillary service industries such as domestic trade fair stand builders, advertising, local retail, etc. It is estimated that about 20-25% of a company’s exhibition budget is spent with the organizer, the other 75-80% are spent with the local or regional economy.
This indirect return on investment is what makes it so compelling for government bodies to actively participate in, or be a strong promoter of, their national trade fairs and conference sector.
In recent years we see an ever growing investment and professionalism by governments; measureable targets are being put in place, tangible goals around “ease-of-doing” business are implemented to make organizers, exhibitors, visitors and delegates want to come back.