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Fri, Oct 03, 2003 - Page 17 News List

Germany: The world's No. 1location for trade fairs

By Karin Doehler and Tobias Keller

Berlin, Munich, Hanover, Frankfurt, Stuttgart -- more than two-thirds of the world's leading trade fairs take place in these and other German cities, making Germany the world's leading site for trade fairs. But while Germany provides the venues, it is international participation that made German trade fairs internationally important -- and keep them successful. The continued growth of the sector was in recent years due mostly to increasing foreign interest, mainly from Asia and Eastern Europe. In 2003, the share of visitors from Asia is expected to rise far above 10 percent. Out of a total of 900 exhibitors at September's International Broadcasting Exhibition in the German capital of Berlin, Taiwanese alone accounted for a surprising 10 percent.

This number hints at the crucial role Taiwan's enterprises play in the IT, precision mechanics and food sectors, to name but a few. A particularly interesting spot for foreign visitors is Berlin. Messe Berlin (Berlin Trade Fair) organizes globally leading events like the International Tourism Exchange, Fruit Logistica -- the trend-setting exhibition on products and services regarding fruits and vegetables -- and InnoTrans, dealing with all aspects of transport technology.

A highlight in Berlin is IFA (International Radio and Television exhibition), the world's leading fair for audiovisual technologies and products. Of the 1,004 participating enterprises, an amazing 121 are from Taiwan, making the island the second most important participating country after the host. Apart from these traditional sectors, Messe Berlin has also started organizing fairs for new sectors such as renewable energies and m-commerce. This stable base also leads to new innovative developments, such as "Virtual Market Place," recently introduced by Messe Berlin. This Internet platform provides exhibitors, visitors and others with a range of information and contact possibilities year-round. By allowing users to plan their visit to the fair in advance and exhibitors to be presented non-stop, "Virtual Market Place" is already an established brand and will likely evolve into a commercial platform in the future. Messe Berlin has one further strong point, making it special among its mainly German competitors: Berlin has been ranked the most attractive German trade fair location, considering its hotels' capacity, variety and reasonable prices, an excellent public transport system and diversified and affordable gastronomy. But even more attractive is the flair Berlin offers. The city has gone through a metamorphosis since the reunion of the Eastern and Western German parts.

But Berlin still has two centers: In the west around the Memorial Church and in the east around the Alexanderplatz and Unter den Linden. Around the Memorial Church visitors find cafes, bars, cinemas, luxury hotels and a lot of shops. It is a perfect place to enjoy yourself in the pulsating heart of the capital. While enjoying a nice walk through the city, the visitor has a view of great historical buildings, which remind visitors of the glamour of Berlin during the Baroque period, its churches and museums.

For those who are interested in art and history, the museum island is the right place to go. More recent history is presented by the remains of the Berlin Wall. The best remaining parts of the Berlin Wall are at the East Side Gallery near Ostbahnhof. A few of the pictures which are printed on the wall are quite famous, for example the "brotherkiss" between Erich Honecker and Leonid Brezhnev. Before 1989 the east side of the wall was completely untouched. The wall paintings were done by a lot of artists who tried to use their art to demonstrate against inhumanity.

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