The Rise of Trade Fairs in the Asia-Pacific Region
Edited by Harald Bathelt and Gang Zeng
Chapter 3: The evolution of trade show systems: lessons from Europe
International trade shows have played a central role in the development of local economies in Europe since the end of World War II. As collective marketing instruments, regularly scheduled each year, European events were able to support the visibility of many local clusters and national manufacturing industries, enabling local firms to establish international pipelines and wider market ties. In Europe, trade shows also have been important drivers of business tourism, generating economic impact on the hosting cities because of visitors’ and exhibitors’ expenditures in the local area. Trade fairs are present throughout all European countries, but events devoted to industrial buyers (business-to-business shows) have been especially focused in industrialized areas and, inside these, in the most accessible cities. The two key benefits of trade shows (promotion of local clusters/national industries and local economic impacts) have legitimized two different event models: export shows (local/national supply shows), with exhibitors mainly represented by local producers and visitors-buyers mainly coming from abroad; and import shows (local/national demand shows), with exhibitors-producers mainly coming from abroad and visitors-buyers mainly representing the local market.
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