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December 8 2023Exhibition industry

Trade Fairs in Germany: International exhibitors and visitors are back

One of the major advantages of German trade fairs in terms of global competition is the high level of international representation among both exhibitors and visitors. The Association of the German Trade Fair Industry, AUMA, has now calculated the respective proportions of international exhibitors and visitors and the most important countries thereof for 2022. Granted, overall figures have not yet returned to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, however, the proportion of foreign representatives attending local leading trade fairs has now recovered.

International representation during the 2022 trade fair year

Most important exhibiting countries are international  

Of the 120,000 exhibiting companies at 166 international and national trade fairs, 72,000 exhibitors came from abroad (60 per cent). In terms of the represented regions, there has been a clear shift: In 2019, almost 30 per cent of exhibiting companies came from Asia, but in 2022 this figure was just under 19 per cent. In 2022, more than 72 per cent of exhibitors came from European countries, whereas before the COVID-19 pandemic, this figure was around 60 per cent.

The best represented countries are Italy with 10,600 exhibitors, ahead of France (5,200), China (4,800), Turkey (4,100), USA (3,900) and the Netherlands (3,900). In 2019, China topped the chart with almost 16,000 exhibitors, followed by Italy (14,000), France (7,000), USA (6,600) and the Netherlands with just under 5,500 exhibitors.

Visitors come primarily from the European Union

A similar development can be observed in the number of visitors travelling from abroad. Two million of the 5.5 million visitors to the international and national trade fairs came from abroad. This corresponds to a share of just under 37 per cent and is therefore slightly above the average prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The best represented visiting countries are the Netherlands (160,000), Austria (155,000), Italy (150,000), Switzerland (125,000) and France (105,000).

The proportion of European countries represented by visitors increased marginally to 77.5 per cent (2019: 76.9 per cent). Slight increases can be seen in all regions with the exception of Asia: While in 2019, 10.6 per cent still travelled from Asian countries, in 2022 this figure was just 7.3 per cent. Here, China, India and Japan were by far the most well-represented countries in the visitors ranking list: China slips from 10th place (100,000) in 2019 to 34th place (12,500), India from 17th place (55,000) to 18th place (28,000) and Japan from 19th place (45,000) to 28th place (17,000).

According to a survey conducted by AUMA among foreign representatives of the exhibition companies, one reason for the slow recovery in terms of Asian representation is the persistently long waiting time when acquiring a visa in German consulates and missions. In addition, in 2022 there were still travel restrictions in place for travellers from some Asian countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The year 2023 is the first year with a complete trade fair programme in Germany since the pandemic. AUMA is expecting up to 180,000 exhibiting companies and around 13 million visitors at almost 320 trade fairs.

In 2022, a year marked by the coronavirus, 280 out of 410 planned international, national and regional trade fairs took place in Germany. In total, more than 7.6 million visitors and more than 141,000 exhibiting companies participated.

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