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February 15 2023Media Release

German Trade fairs take off powerfully – recovery visible since last autumn

  • Attendees are back: over seven million trade fair visitors in 2022

  • Participants from abroad already at pre-Corona level – however, figures have shifted

  • Bottlenecks at visa offices hinder entry to Germany

Berlin, 15 February 2023 | Since January, more than 50 trade fairs have taken place in Germany, more than 60 are still planned until the end of March. Among them outstanding shows such as the travel fair ITB in Berlin, the world's leading trade fair for water, heat and air ISH in Frankfurt and the International Dental Show IDS in Cologne. The latter will celebrate 100 years of existence this March.

Looking back, 2022 has been the third exceptional year in a row: After most trade fairs were cancelled in the first quarter due to official trade fair bans, the majority of attendees has been back since autumn at the latest. More than 7.2 million visitors and over 142,000 exhibiting companies were guests at German trade fairs. That sums up to 70 percent of the exhibitors and almost 65 percent of the visitors of the pre-Corona period.

  • Jörn Holtmeier, Managing Director of the umbrella organisation of the German trade fair industry AUMA: “2022 was once again a rollercoaster ride for trade fairs, but in the end it developed amazingly. Despite never-ending uncertainties, the first industry trade fairs are recording above-average visitor and exhibitor numbers. Although the costs for travel and accommodation have risen sharply, companies do not want to do without their industry get-togethers. Last summer visitors and exhibitors initially showed some reluctance. However, it has become evident that trade fairs are the best places for acquiring new customers and solid sales channels when innovative topics are concerned.”

Two dozen new trade fairs premiered in 2022 with their main focus on mobility, medicine and energy. Only one trade fair was purely digital. More than 5.5 million square metres of stand space were booked at the trade fairs in Germany last year. 4.9 million square metres of this alone at the almost 170 trade fairs of national to international importance. Especially at these, around 5.3 million of the more than seven million visitors and 120,000 of the over 142,000 exhibiting companies met.

  • Jörn Holtmeier: “The global economy is meeting again in Germany – the international place to be for trade fairs. Two-thirds of all the world's leading trade fairs are held in Germany. We call on the Federal Government to strengthen this leading position. But potential trade fair participants from India, Turkey or China are increasingly unable to enter the country because German visa offices do not issue trade fair visas in time. Fewer home-made problems, more commitment to Germany as a trade fair venue: that would upgrade the governing coalition.”

1.9 million foreign trade fair visitors in Germany in 2022 are impressive. Their share even means a slight increase compared to the time before the pandemic. The 70,000 foreign exhibitors are on a par with the pre-Corona level. What is remarkable, however, is their origin, showing a clear shift: while in 2019 a good 30 percent of the exhibiting companies came from Asia, in 2022 it was only just under 19 percent. On the other hand, 72 percent of exhibitors came from European countries; before Corona, this share was around 60 percent.

The overall economic damage caused by bans, postponements and cancellations of trade fairs has been finally determined: More than 60 billion euro in losses and almost ten billion euro less tax revenues are the result of the trade fair bans since the beginning of 2020. In 2019, the trade fair industry still contributed 28 billion euro to the annual economic plus. In 2022, it was just under 14 billion euro.

Outlook on 2023

With at least 340 trade fairs, a regular trade fair year may be expected this year for the first time since the outbreak of the Corona pandemic in Germany. More than 110 trade fairs will take place in the first quarter alone. In 2022, there were only 18 in the same period.

Outstanding events in 2023 include, for example, the world's leading trade fair for organic foods Biofach in Nuremberg, the leading trade fair for the global food industry Anuga in Cologne, the Leipzig Book Fair, the world's leading trade fair for architecture and materials Bau in Munich, the world's leading trade fair for industry Hannover Messe, the world's leading trade fair for agricultural machinery Agritechnica in Hanover and the leading trade fair for the medical sector Medica in Dusseldorf.


Trade Fairs in Germany 2022 - Foreign Exhibitors

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The IDS - International Dental Show celebrates its 100th anniversary this March. Photo: © Koelnmesse GmbH / Harald Fleissner

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AUMA is the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry, the umbrella organisation of the German trade fair industry. Internationally and nationally, it represents the interests of all large and medium-sized trade fair companies in Germany as well as the associations that represent exhibitors, service companies and visitors.

230,000 jobs are secured through trade fairs in Germany. No fewer than 70 trade fair venues between the North Sea and Lake Constance make this trade fair country unique in the world. Two thirds of all leading trade fairs in the global economy are held in Germany. At peak times, these fairs attract over 180,000 exhibitors and ten million visitors. 60 per cent of the exhibitors and 35 per cent of the trade visitors come from abroad.

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