The eastern EU expansion from about ten years ago has brought Germany’s exhibitions great potential for new visitors. In 2014, almost 300,000 fairgoers from Poland, Slovenia, Slovenian republic, Czech Republic, Hungary and the Baltic countries came to Germany, which is about 80% more than in 2004, the first year of their EU membership.
These are the results of recent calculations of Germany’s Exhibition and Trade Fair Association (AUMA – Ausstellungs- und Messe-Ausschuss der Deutschen Wirtschaft). The main reason for the increase can be found in the larger than average economic growth these countries experienced, combined with high import needs and the strong increase in economic partnership with the “old” EU-states in almost all areas. The central location of Germany and the high-profile international supply of German trade fairs make it especially easy to visit German exhibitions.
Due to these factors, particularly two eastern neighbors of Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic have approximately doubled the number of visitors at German exhibitions. Based on the number of visitors, these two countries are also the most important sources of event attendees – 95,000 fairgoers are from Poland and 80,000 are from the Czech Republic. However, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania apparently view Germany as a central destination for acquiring new business information with doubling their visitor counts since 2004.
In 2014, 2.62 million foreign fairgoers visited Germany, with 540,000 visitors from outside Europe. The most important countries of 2014 in exhibition visits were the Netherlands (245,000), closely followed by Austria (160,000), France and Great Britain (145,000 each), Switzerland (140,000) and Belgium (130,000). Among non-European countries, the USA and China (65,000 each) as well as India (35,000) led the bill.