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The Warsaw Voice » Real Estate » September 24, 2008
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More Polish Cities at Munich Fair
September 24, 2008   
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Krzysztof Kiljański, director of the Munich Fair Office in Poland, talks to Magdalena Fabijańczuk in the run-up to Expo Real in the German city, one of the world's largest real estate fairs.

Expo Real will be held for the 11th time this year. How strong will the Polish contingent be at the fair?
Last year, Poland ranked fifth in terms of exhibition space hired, occupying 480 sq m in total. At this year's fair, exhibitions of Polish companies, cities and regions will cover 610 sq m of space. It is quite a lot, considering that participation costs are really high. Exhibitors pay around 500 euros net to rent 1 sq m of empty exhibition space while admission to the fair for visitors costs 300 euros. But the prestige of the event and the prospect of big business deals is what has been drawing Poles to Munich-just five years ago Polish companies hired between them no more than 100 sq m of space at Expo Real. Additionally, Poland is now in eighth place in terms of visitor numbers, which is a great result considering that Warsaw is more than 1,000 kilometers from Munich.

Are Polish exhibitors well prepared for the fair?
I've been organizing the Polish contingent at the fair for eight years now and I have to admit that Polish companies and cities are increasingly well prepared. They publish brochures and presentations in English. They no longer settle for standard exhibition furnishings, but use custom-made furniture, large plasma screens, separate spaces for talks, catering and hostess services. We did not have that a few years ago.

However, during preparations it is hard to reconcile Polish flair with German precision. The Germans need to have everything planned to the smallest detail. The deadline for submitting applications to take part in Expo Real expires in March. Meanwhile, Polish companies would prefer to start thinking about the fair in June, but that's too late. As a result, our office takes a risk and books a certain amount of space on spec for Polish exhibitors. Otherwise, it would not be possible to have such a large Polish contingent at the fair. Later, we divide the space among companies and cities, giving them time until the end of April or mid-May to confirm participation.

Poland's eighth place in terms of visitor numbers is quite high. Who are these visitors?
These are mainly cities and regions. Companies hire stands less frequently but since they want to take part in the fair they come to Munich as visitors. Banks, law firms and development companies are represented particularly strongly. The organizer has taken care to ensure convenience for them as well. Entry to Expo Real has to be booked through the internet, but this can be done until the very last moment. A fair pass gives its holder-visitor or exhibitor-free travel on all city transport. A new facility at Real Expo this year is a business meeting center where visitors can book comfortable space for business talks.

To what extent are Polish cities involved in the fair?
This year, most large Polish cities will be present at Expo Real. And in contrast to previous years, most will have separate stands instead of a single large stand. In the past, our office used to book one large Polish stand of 250-300 sq m for Polish exhibitors. Two years ago Warsaw and Cracow started to arrange separate stands for themselves and this year a majority of large Polish cities and regions will have separate exhibitions. As a result, the joint Polish stand will cover only 80 sq m.

Warsaw has hired 200 sq m this year. Cracow's exhibition-on 120 sq m-is also considerable. Polish cities tend to book increasingly large spaces and sometimes stage joint exhibitions with companies. Hochtief Development Poland will be exhibiting together with Warsaw this year.

The city of Katowice, and the Silesia and Opole regions, will stage their exhibitions at Expo Real for the first time this year. The Association of Polish Cities, one of the largest self-governing organizations in Poland, will also appear for the first time in Munich with a 42-meter stand. Additionally, seven smaller Polish cities, including Płock, Sosnowiec and Dębno, will exhibit at the Association's stand.

Why does the fair attract such wide interest from Polish cities and regions?
Expo Real's strength is that it is a specialist fair. We try to avoid exhibiting everything from soup to nuts. We want to remain a purely real estate fair attended by real estate managers, property advisers, developers, cities and regions. The organizer is not interested in expanding the exhibition space to the maximum and some companies fail to get accreditation. This was the case this year with catering and cleaning companies, and furniture producers. In that respect, Expo Real differs from other fairs, but visitors are satisfied because they get exactly what they have come to Munich for.

Does that mean they seal tangible business deals at the fair?
Indeed. Expo Real is not a "courtesy" fair, it is a working fair. People come here to do business and hold talks. Otherwise, Warsaw, Wrocław and other Polish cities would not have been coming there for so many years.

Additionally, 90 percent of participants in the fair are medium-level and senior managers. Expo Real is a meeting place for people responsible for specific projects. As a result, the number of deals made after the fair is particularly large. The organizer offers a special electronic system to help business partners to meet each other. Electronic devices in fair pavilions enable visitors and exhibitors to check what countries, companies and people are present at the fair. The user can also print out a map with directions to find a specific stand.

Up-to-date lists of exhibitors and visitors can be checked on our website. This enables companies and local government officials to come to the fair with a complete calendar of business meetings.
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