Azerbaijan’s season of international exhibitions and conferences came to a close in December. Throughout 2016, the Caspian region’s leading exhibition company Iteca Caspian with its British partner ITE Group held 17 trade exhibitions and conferences. All Iteca Caspian’s events were supported by government bodies. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, visited a number of exhibitions including AITF, WorldFood Azerbaijan, Caspian Oil and Gas, and Bakutel, and sent welcome letters to exhibitors for a number of other exhibitions. The exhibitions were also attended by various other relevant industry ministers.
In 2016, Baku reaffirmed its undeniable international reputation as the region’s business centre. 1,454 companies from more than 60 countries and more than 45,000 visitors attended the 2016 exhibitions. Stands by local companies made up 40% of the total exhibition space.
Over 70 high ranking international guests visited the exhibitions in 2016 such as Robin Dunnigan - Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Diplomacy in the Department of State's Bureau of Energy Resources, Baronessa Emma Nikolson - the UK Prime Minister’s special trade envoy to Azerbaijan, Iraq and Turkmenistan, Houlin Zhao - Secretary General, ITU; Valeriy Shevchuk - Deputy Minister of the Healthcare of the Republic of Belarus, Mahmoud Vaezi – Minister of Communications and Information Technology of Iran, Sergey Popkov – Minister of Communications and Informatization of Belarus, Nurudin Mukhitdinov - Secretary General, RCC; Vitalie Cholak - Moldova Deputy Minister of Information Technology and Communications, Ahmet Arslan - Turkish Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications, Alan Ajibayev - Kazakh Deputy Minister of Information and Communication, Bakit Sharshembiyev - Kyrgyz Chairman of the State Committee for Information Technology and Communications, and Ramil Hasanov - Secretary General, Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States (CCTSS).
The success of 2016’s exhibitions is largely thanks to the role of partners and sponsors. This year’s sponsors were SOCAR, BP, Gazakh Cement Plant LLC, NB Group, Eurodesign, Azerfon, Bos Shelf, AZFEN J.V., Azeri M-I Drilling, Caspian Drilling Company, Caspian Marine Services, General Electric, Global Energy, GMA Petroleum, RusNeft, Tekfen Construction, Inpex, Caspian Geophysical, Dentons, Nobel Oil Upstream, McDermott, SAP, Schlumberger, SNAM, Statoil, SOCAR Polymer, Petronas, HMS, Total, Caspian Energy, Dom&Interyer magazine. Iteca Caspian’s partners in 2016 were SafeLife, the security partner, tour operators Premier Tour, official hotels Sheraton Hotel and Qafqaz Point Hotel, official stand builder AzExpoMontage, and Baku Expo Center, and Aqil & Bilgi - children’s area.
Each exhibition also had its own business programme. In the framework of the exhibitions took place the different seminars, presentations, forums and conferences. As well as business meetings and talks, the exhibitions featured other interesting events arranged by the organisers. In the Year of Multiculturalism in Azerbaijan AITF has become a real festival of world cultures. Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Montenegro, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, and Ukraine, also Belarus this year’s debutant, presented bright stands with national colors. The Stavropol Region (under the supervision the Ministry of Culture of the Stavropol Region), Catalonia (Spain) and Jurmala (Latvia) are presented with separate regional stands.
For AITF’s 15th anniversary, we prepared a special programme of additional events. The programme’s main feature was a joint project with the Administration of the Icherisheher State Historical-Architectural Reserve under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan. During the exhibition, the Icherisheher Centre of Traditional Arts’ stand in the exhibition centre lobby featured four types of decorative arts and crafts - ceramics, batik, jewellery, and woodwork. Visitors got the opportunity to watch these national arts being created.
For the 15th anniversary of TransCaspian, the Caspian International Transport, Transit and Logistics Exhibition, a special programme of additional events took place. On 10 May, the Central Botanical Garden hosted an event dedicated to the birthday of National Leader Heydar Aliyev - participants of the TransCaspian exhibition built a pergola in the Central Botanical Gardens to provide a resting spot.
On the first day of the exhibition, we awarded student Zulfugar Sadikhov a prize for gaining the highest score in the admissions exam for the Transportation and Transport Engineering Management course at the Azerbaijan Technical University. Iteca Caspian therefore continues the tradition of encouraging students to enrol in the country’s distinguished universities.
Iteca Caspian has always supported the development of hand-craftsmanship. Visitors at this year’s event could view an exhibition of handworks by Rovshan Ansari in Baku Expo Center’s lobby. The exhibition included models of ships, trains and aircraft of different classes, ages and origins.
Iteca Caspian continues to support art and traditional craftsmanship in Azerbaijan by presenting a display of Azerbaijani national “kelagai” headscarves and a display of pictures from the charity Damla at Caspian Oil&Gas exhibition. The BakuBuild exhibition coincided with the Anglo-Azerbaijani Society charity dinner and auction at the Four Seasons hotel, where we were one of the sponsors.
At this year’s Bakutel telecommunications exhibition and conference, a Game Zone was introduced where visitors could experience virtual reality using a special headset, as well as create a unique item or object using 3D printing pen technology handles. In addition, for the first time in Azerbaijan, visitors got the opportunity to participate in a Robot Battle with mini-robots, and communicate with an Intelligent Robot.
The exhibitions and all events that took place within them were widely covered by the local press and international media agencies. Media support for the 2016 exhibitions was provided by 350 media. Seven issues of the Daily News newspaper were published and each exhibition published its own official catalogue.
The exhibitors and visitors thought that the exhibitions had gone successfully. According to the surveys held throughout the year 95% of visitors held important meetings and remained satisfied with the 2016 exhibitions. In this way, the exhibitions once again proved that they are the most effective tool for finding new clients, sales markets and expanding geographies of sales for exhibiting companies. This is attested to by the average exhibitor rebooking rate of 30%.
Trade and industry exhibitions are a reliable guide to the business world, and the most effective tool for finding new clients, markets and widening the sales area, establishing international partnerships, increasing the flow of investment. They are a great opportunity to maintain relationships with partners and a target audience.
In 2017 Iteca Caspian plans to hold 18 exhibitions in Baku Expo Center. Two of the exhibitions in 2017 will be anniversary exhibitions: Aquatherm Baku, the 10th Anniversary International Exhibition for Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning, Water Supply, Sanitary, Environmental Technology, Swimming Pool and Renewable Energies, and Securika Caspian, the 10th Anniversary Caspian International Protection, Security and Rescue Exhibition. Also We would like to concentrate your attention to the exhibition’s new name - WorldBuild Baku, which will come into effect in 2017. The Baku building exhibition is part of ITE Build&Interiors, the largest portfolio of building exhibitions in the world. The renaming process is in line with changes to all ITE Group’s building exhibitions worldwide. The changes will create a cohesive image for the exhibitions for visitors and exhibitors that is in line with the level of organisation and scale of the exhibitions, and the products presented.
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.