Yet another year of successful exhibitions and conferences in Azerbaijan has come to a close on the 5th of December. More than 20 specialised exhibitions, including the CATEF exhibition which took place for the first time, have been organised by Iteca Caspian and their British partners ITE Group in 2013.The 2013 exhibitions have shown 40%. There were 2015 exhibiting companies from 65 countries and more than 55 thousand visitors at the exhibitions in 2013. The stands of local companies took up nearly 40% of the exhibtion area. The fact that the majority of local and foreign exhibitors have already booked their places to exhibit in 2014, shows the effectiveness of these events. The most active countries by number of exhibiting companies in 2013 were the Russian Federation, Turkey and Italy.A record number of national groups were involved in the exhibitions with the support of state bodies from their countries. 37 companies had national stands at the exhibitions in 2013, including Afghanistan, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Spain, Canada, Cyprus, China, Latvia, Lithuania, Morocco, UAE, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, the USA, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Finland, France, Croatia, Montenegro, Czech Republic and Estonia. The leaders of the Republic of Azerbaijan have given a lot of attention to the exhibitions. President Ilkham Aliyev visited a number of these exhibitions and reviewed the products and services on display. Honoured guests at the exhibitions included Minister of Communication and Mass Media of the Russian Federation Nikolai Nikiforov, Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Hamadoun Touré, Minister of National Development of Hungary Zsuzsanna Németh, Minister of Communications and Information Technology of the Republic of Belarus Nikolai Panteley,, General Director of the Regional Commonwealth in the Field of Communication Nuruddin Mukhitdinov, Minister of Energy of Georgia Kaha Kaladze, UK Trade Envoy to Azerbaijan Charles Hendy, State Secretary of Switzerland for Trade Gunnar Oom, Secretary General of the Energy Charter Urban Rusnak, Deputy Minister for the Oil and Gas Industry and Natural Resources of Turkmenistan Annageldi Mammetyazov and Deputy Minister for Oil of Iran Mr Ovni, Minister of Resorts and Tourism of the Crimea Aleksandr Liev, Minister of Resorts and Tourism of the Stavropol Region Valentina Chentsova, Deputy Minister of Education of Lithuania Rimantas Vaitkus, Academician of Creative Pedagogy, Doctor of Medical Science, Professor Vladimir Bazarny, Chairman of the Russian Union for the Healthy Development of Children Valeriy Berchun and many others.As always, many of the exhibitions hosted conferences, seminars and discussion panels as part of their rich business programme. Partners and sponsors played an important part in the success of the events in 2013. This year, sponsors included the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR), BP Azerbaijan, Statoil, Axpo Trading, Azfen-Tekfen, Azeri MI Drilling Fluids, BNP Paribas, Bos Shelf, Caspian Drilling Company, Caspian Marine Services, Cross Caspian Oil and Gas Logistics, IHS Global, McDermott Caspian Contractors, Inc., Nabucco, Nobel Oil, RussNeft, RWE, Siveco Romania, TexnoProm, Bakcell, BNP Paribas, Caspian Geophysical JV, ConocoPhillips, Dentons, Ernst&Young, Inpex, Interpipe, Nexans, TAP, Total, Wartsila, Holcim Azerbaijan, Norm, Emirates steel, HP and Systra.The official safety partner for all of the exhibitions was SafeLife, while the official tour operator for the last several years was Greenwich Travel Club. Jumeirah Bilgah Beach Hotel and Qafqaz Point Hotel had the Official Hotel status. The partnership agreements for 2014 are already being signed. Mariott Absheron Hotel will be the official partner of all of the exhibitions in 2014, with Qafqaz Point Hotel and Greenwich Travel Club also remaining as partners.One of the important events in 2013 was the 20 year anniversary of the Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition, which was the first specialised exhibition in Azerbaijan. For all of those years, the exhibition has been gathering the leaders of the oil industry from around the world and drawing attention to Azerbaijan. The anniversary exhibition attracted 386 exhibitors from 28 countries and was congratulated by many government officials, industrialists and businessmen. The exhibition has shown itself as a platform for the signing of major contracts yet again. One of these was the contract for the construction of a new 6th generation semi-submersible drilling rig between Caspian Drilling Company and Caspian Shipyards Company Ltd. Head of SOCAR Rovnag Abdullaev stated that the price of the rig after tax will reach more than one billion dollars during the contract signing ceremony,.The Anniversary of Caspian Oil & Gas coincided with an important date - the 90th anniversary of the birth of National Leader Heydar Aliyev, who was one of the founders of the exhibition and inspired the ideas behind it. The Organisers planned and implemented a programme of additional events. The planting of rare trees and flowers took place in the Central Botanical Garden involving the exhibitors and participants of the exhibition and conference to mark the occasion of the two Anniversaries. An Anniversary stand was also erected on the territory of the exhibition itself at the Baku Expo Centre and displayed historical moments at the exhibition which involved the National Leader of the Azerbaijani Nation. The organisers continued with the tradition of giving awards to the best students in the oil industry which started at the last anniversary. This year, student Mamiya Giulay received the special grant from Caspian Oil and Gas for achieving the highest possible grade in her entrance exams to the Oil Academy of Azerbaijan. All companies that had continually exhibited at the exhibition for its 20 years of existence were given certificates and souvenirs.The CATEF 2013 Caspian Aqua Technologies Exhibition and Forum made a successful and effective debut in April with the support of AZERSU OJSC. The importance of this event was underlined by the visit of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilkham Aliyev.An interesting moment in the history of Iteca Caspian occurred when the company was not just the organiser of the Education and Career Exhibition, but also an exhibitor. Stand No.1042 attracted the attention of many visitors that wanted to work at Iteca Caspian. More than 100 CVs were submitted at the company stand. The company now has the choice of many promising young specialists. Another important event of the business programme at this exhibiton was the seminar run by Academician of Creative Pedagogy, Honoured Worker of Education of the Russian Federation, Doctor of Medical Sciences Professor V.F. Bazarny on the subject of "The ergonomics of the educational process in pre-school and school educational institutions and its influence on the development and health of new generations". Professor Bazarny presented a unique self-authored system aimed at making the development of health one of the founding principles of educational institutions, ensuring the discovery of the potential of a child as part of the educational process. The Professor was invited by the exhibition organisers with the support of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan. A disk with a recording of Professor Bazarny's seminar was prepared for distribution to schools in Azerbaijan at the end of the exhibition.The major changes in the construction industry of Azerbaijan that have had a positive effect on the economic development of the country and the attraction of investment have also been reflected in the yearly growth of the BakuBuild exhibition. This year, the exhibition occupied all of the halls of the Baku Expo Centre, including external areas. 60% of the exhibition space for 2014 was already re-booked by the exhibitors by the third day of the exhibition.2013 was declared as the 'Year of Information and Communication Technology' in Azerbaijan by order of President Ilkham Aliyev. This theme could be felt throughout the whole Bakutel 2013 exhibition. A rich business programme ran alongside the exhibition and included over 15 events, forums, discussion and meetings. This year, the exhibition brought together 300 companies from 28 countries with a 35% increase in the exhibition area. Bakutel occupied three halls for the first time, with a total area of 12000 m2 of the Baku Expo Centre. The participants in the Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway (TASIM) project signed a memorandum of mutual understanding as part of the Bakutel exhibition. Azerbaijan was represented by the Centre of International Communications and Calculations of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technologies. One of the notable events which took place at the Bakutel exhibition was the announcement of the stock market flotation of one of the companies in the ICT sector of Azerbaijan on the Baku stock exchange by way of Initial Public Offering (IPO) for the first time. The exhibition organisers prepared an impressive programme of additional events, which added a celebratory feeling to the business activities. A real surprise for the visitors was the performance by world famous Titan the Robot that arrived at the exhibition in Azerbaijan with his show for the first time. His performance excited and entertained hundreds of spectators. A gaming zone was situated in the third pavilion - everyone had the chance to see the latest x-box games and play on laser strings. This year, Iteca Caspian proved its status as a professional conference organiser through acting as the co-organiser of several international events. One of these events was the meeting of the Ministers of Labour from Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) member countries, which took place in Azerbaijan for the first time. Ministers and representatives of Ministries of Labour from over 50 countries took part in the conference. The meeting was organised by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Azebaijan on 23-26 April. An international conference on the "World Outlook on Issues in the Protection of the Environment in the Oil Industry" also took place with the support of Azerbaijan State Oil Company SOCAR and IDEA. 250 delegates attended the conference, including representatives of government organisations of various companies, global oil and gas companies and leading environmental specialists.A definite factor in the achievement of great results at the exhibitions over the last several years has been the economic growth of Azerbaijan and the attractiveness of the country for foreign investment, a favourable environment of the business development and the official support afforded to Iteca Caspian events by state bodies. Some of the exhibitions have the influential international support of the United Nations (UN) the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the Secretariat of the TRACECA International Commission, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the Regional Commonwealth in the Field of Communications and many others. The exhibitions taking place in Azerbaijan for the last several years have gone though an annual audit organised by UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry. Another important part of the success of the exhibitions and conferences is their highly professional level of organisation and the efforts of the agent network of ITE Group Plc, including ITE Moscow (Russia), EUF (Turkey), GIMA (Germany), ITE China (PRC), ITE Gulf (UAE) to attract international companies to exhibit in Baku as well as the professional exhibition venue in Baku Expo Centre.Plans for 2014Iteca Caspian is planning to organise exhibitions on 25 subjects in 2014. 2014 is also notable for the fact that 5 exhibitions will be celebrating their Anniversaries. WorldFood Azerbaijan, BIHE, BakuBuild and BakuTel will be taking place for the 20th time. These exhibitions have achieved leading positions in the Caspian Region and have become the traditional meeting places for professionals that attract the greatest number of visitors. The Anniversary events will have a special programme which will offer the opportunity to present projects more extensively.2014 will also be the first year of a new project for Iteca Caspian - the 1st Caspian International Boat and Yacht Show, which will take place from the 15th to the 17th of May at the Baku Expo Centre. The exhibition will feature a great number of boats and yachts as well as equipment for active recreation. Iteca Caspian has also implemented the re-branding of the popular Azerbaijan car show, which will take place as the 8th Baku International Motor Show - a long awaited event by car lovers in Azerbaijan.The 1st International ADEX 2014 Azebaijan Defense Industry Exhibition will take place from the 17th to the 19th of September. The latest global developments in the production of armaments will be demonstrated at the exhibition. ADEX is poised to become an important meeting place for the global arms industry and a platform for the demonstration of the military potential of exhibiting countries, the exchange of experience and discussion of issues in the defence industry. The exhibition will attract producers and buyers of armaments and military technology and serve to encourage cooperation in this field. The exhibition will be organised with the support of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Ministry of the Defence Industry of the Republic of Azerbaijan.These new exhibitions promise to bring new technologies, new contacts, partners and investments to the rapidly developing national economy. Every specialised exhibition is the meeting place for a whole industry with unlimited potential. You can find a detailed calendar of the exhibitions in 2014 on the www.iteca.az website.