Azerbaijan’s season of international exhibitions and conferences came to a close in December. Throughout 2015, 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 a welcome letter to exhibitors for a number of other exhibitions. The exhibitions were also attended by Artur Rasizade, Prime Minister of Azerbaijan and various other relevant industry ministers.
Over 70 high ranking international guests visited the exhibitions in 2015: Alan Yarrow, Lord Mayor of London; Janusz Pehochinski, Deputy Prime Minister of Poland; Adil Abdulmahdi Hassan Shuber, Iraqi Oil Minister; Vladimir Semashko, Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus; Sergey Tsyb, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation; Valery Shevchuk, Deputy Minister of Health of the Republic of Belarus; Vilius Martusevichus, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Lithuania; Petyo Ivanov, Executive Director of Bulgargaz EAD; Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin, President and CEO of Petronas; Emil Nilsson, President of TeliaSonera Eurasia; and Stephane Israel, Chair and СЕО of Arianespace.
In 2015, Baku reaffirmed its undeniable international reputation as the region’s business centre. 1,883 exhibiting companies from 65 countries and more than 45,000 visitors from Azerbaijan and the CIS attended the 2015 exhibitions. Stands by local companies made up 40% of the total exhibition space. 28 countries organised national stands: Australia, Argentina, Belarus, Bulgaria, China, France, Germany, Georgia, the Dominican Republic, Iran, India, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Morocco, Maldives, Montenegro, the UAE, the UK, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey and the Czech Republic.
Turkey, Russia and Italy were first, second and third in terms of number of companies represented at Iteca Caspian’s exhibitions. Such high activity is due to the fact that Azerbaijan’s exhibitions are included in programmes in these countries for state subsidies for exhibiting at international exhibitions.
The success of 2015’s exhibitions is largely thanks to the role of partners and sponsors. This year’s sponsors were SOCAR, BP, Qazax Sement Zavodu, NB Group, Eurodesign, Bakcell, Stadler, Baker Hughes, Türkiye Petrolleri, Bos Shelf, AZFEN J.V., Azeri M-I Drilling, Caspian Drilling Company, Caspian Marine Services, Caspian Pipe Coatings, Global Energy, RusNeft, Tekfen Construction, Inpex, Caspian Geophysical, Cross Caspian, Chelpipe, Dentons, Integraph, Nobel Oil Upstream, Schlumberger, Socar AQŞ, SOCAR Polymer, TAP, Total, and Ukraine International Airlines. Iteca Caspian’s partners in 2015 were SafeLife, the security partner, tour operators Greenwich Travel Club, official hotels Jumeirah Bilgah Beach Hotel Baku and Qafqaz Point Hotel, official stand builder AzExpoMontage, and Baku Expo Center.
Over the years, innovative impulses have arisen from the exhibitions, which were reflected in the New Product catalogues. Many exhibitors presented new products and innovations for the production process, which were of great interest to professional visitors.
The exhibitions saw the signing of contracts between Stadler Rail Group and Azerbaijan Railways, and between Azercosmos and French company Arianespace to place the Azerspace-2 satellite into orbit. Each exhibition also had its own business programme. Seminars, presentations, forums and conferences took place, including the Russia-Azerbaijan: The Pharmaceutical and Medical Industries Now and in the Future forum, the Current Issues in Cardiology conference, the 9th scientific and practical conference Modern Methods of Diagnostics and Treatment in Midwifery, Gynaecology and Neonatology, and the Role of TURSAB and Azerbaijan’s Cooperation in the Development of Medical Tourism conference.
As well as business meetings and talks, the exhibitions featured other interesting events arranged by the organisers. At AITF 2015, President Ilham Aliyev and his wife Mehriban Aliyeva were presented with tickets to the opening ceremony of the First European Baku 2015 European Games. At WorldFood Azerbaijan 2015, the photography exhibition Food Gallery by Nubar Hasanova, revealed Azeri cuisine to foreign exhibitors and visitors. At the VIP tour around Caspian Oil and Gas, the President and Mehriban Aliyeva viewed The Nobel Brothers and Baku Oil. The Prize. exhibition by Irina Eldarova, dedicated to the 136th anniversary of the start of the Nobel brothers’ oil company’s activities in Azerbaijan, and at Bakutel 2015, an illusionist from London circus Magic Circle entertained visitors and exhibitors.
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 2015 exhibitions was provided by 345 media organisations, among which 208 were international magazines and portals. Seven issues of the Daily News newspaper were published and each exhibition published its own official catalogue.
It was not just the exhibitors, but visitors too that thought the exhibitions went successfully. According to the surveys held throughout the year 95% of visitors held important meetings and remained satisfied with the 2015 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%.
Plans for 2016
In 2016, Iteca Caspian plans to hold 16 exhibitions and 1conferences. Four of the exhibitions in 2016 will be anniversary exhibitions: 15th anniversary of Azerbaijan International Travel and Tourism Fair AITF and Caspian International Railway Infrastructure, Rolling Stock, Maritime Industry, Aviation, Transport and Logistics Exhibition TransCaspian, аnd 10th anniversary of Caucasus International Hospitality Fair HOREX Caucasus and Azerbaijan International Beauty and Aesthetic Medicine Exhibition Beauty Azerbaijan.
In 2016, a number of exhibitors will be rebranded. In 2015, BakuBuild, the Azerbaijan international construction exhibition was rebranded and Worldfood Azerbaijan exhibition and conference and Road&Traffic are due to be rebranded, as well as Caspian Oil and Gas, Azerbaijan’s first international oil and gas exhibition.
Due to the fact that TransCaspian is expanding its sectors, it will soon be known as TransCaspian, the exhibition of rail infrastructure and rolling stock, marine industry, aviation and transport and logistics services. The organisers have made this decision due to the increased relevance of each sector for the transport industry and the economy as a whole.