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"Fairs are a place where product innovations are presented"

Fairs build and develop the city – they create an image of the city by organising prestigious events, such as congresses, solemn ceremonies or conferences, and generated tourist flows directly influence the local development.

"Fairs are a place where product innovations are presented"

An interview with Robert Głowacki – President of the Board of the Lublin Fair [Targi Lublin S.A.]

The Lublin Fair has existed for almost 20 years. Where did the idea to create it come from?

Indeed, Lublin International Fair [Międzynarodowe Targi Lubelskie] was established in 1999 and in 2011 it transformed into the Lublin Fair. However, the fair tradition dates back to the beginning of the 20th century – the first mention relates to organised in 1901, at the place of today’s Centre for the Meeting of Cultures, Industrial and Agricultural Exhibition. The 1990s were the time of fair events development – there was a lack of specialised shops and shopping malls, the range of goods offered for sale was limited, the national market insatiable, and eastern markets were much more receptive. It was then the sales-oriented fair – a place of meetings in which classical purchase and sale transactions could be concluded like nowhere else. Coming back to the present day – the Hall A of the Lublin Fair was established in 2004 and its activity was formalised then. Previously, the Fair did not have its own exhibition space and leased halls or tents. In 2010 Poznań International Fair became one of the Fair owners and, as professional investors, due to their experience, reoriented the development of the Lublin Fair.

What influenced the decision about locating the Fair at Dworcowa street?

The construction of fair halls in this place was a revitalisation element of a part of Ludowy Park which has been characterised by extremely difficult environmental conditions and it seemed that post-industrial waste from the nearby sugar factory was stored there. However, the choice of this place was determined primarily by location in the city centre and the proximity of the Railway Station. Currently, fair halls are often built on the outskirts of the city – it is particularly relevant when they specialise in B2B trade fairs. The Lublin Fair, apart from business events, organises a number of events for residents of the city and the region, hence this location in the city centre, a place with an excellent communication accessibility.

Is there a recipe for a perfect trade fair?

Today the main objective of fairs is not sale, but promotion – they become a place where product innovations are presented and modern technologies are examined as well as create opportunities to use presented solutions in practice. We go to every effort to adjust the offer of events organised in the Lublin Fair to the needs of citizens and entrepreneurs and to make the offer reflect the specialisation of the city and the region. A good trade fair combines exhibition, material and training (in the form of conferences organised at the fairs), innovative elements and provides an opportunity to test presented products. It is the combination of such components that creates a competitive advantage of fairs in comparison to online promotion so popular recently. Nonetheless, the success of fairs depends on a good cooperation between numerous institutions and businesses as well as an integrated, professional team. Organization of fair events is a very demanding and stressful job. It requires total commitment, creativity, an ability to work under pressure and to respond quickly to new demands.

What is the role of the Lublin Fair in the city?

Fairs build and develop the city – they create an image of the city by organising prestigious events, such as congresses, solemn ceremonies or conferences. Business and private tourist flows, generated by both national and international events, directly influence the development of the local market. The added value for the city comes from the residents’ involvement and the stimulation of the services sector. It is estimated that one fair visitor spends in the city from PLN 1000 to 2000 and 160,000 people visit the Lublin Fair annually.

What is the future of the Lublin Fair?

Recently, the situation of the Lublin Fair has much improved despite the changes in its surroundings. We hold the second place in Eastern Poland in terms of offered exhibition space, but we face a strong and increasing competition from other fair facilities. Hence, the specialisation corresponding to the needs of the city and the region is so crucial. Unfortunately, cards were distributed in the 1990s – since then Gdańsk has specialised in railway industry, Bielsko-Biała in energy, and Międzyzdroje in heating sector. Lublin is building up its position and specialisation from scratch, we are seeking niche which could become our hallmark. Therefore, our fair programme includes border protection matters or the ones connected with growing soft fruit. We constantly strive for increasing number of exhibitors by organising events that are in line with current trends because people still appreciate the possibility to meet and physically get acquainted with the products.

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