There is plenty of movement at Promotürk: After organising the promotional products show that carries the same name as the Turkish industry association with the PSI (Promotional Product Service Institute) as the licensor under the motto “powered by PSI“ for the last three years, the cooperation is not going to be continued in 2014. Furthermore, the Promotürk won’t be organising the event together with the EUF, a Turkish subsidiary of the ITE Group exhibition company in future, but will be cooperating with Fiera Milano Interteks, a Turkish subsidiary of the Milan Exhibition Centre, instead. Finally, the Promotürk will already take place from April 3-6 and will be located in a new hall. The Promotürk President, Esad Ahmet Özdem, talked about the future of the traditional trade fair and the Promotürk as a bridge builder.
Mr. Özdem, the cooperation with the PSI has come to an end. How would you sum up the overall result?
Esad Ahmet Özdem: We are satisfied with the result. The PSI has been organising a trade fair for the past 52 years and we have been the hub between the East and the West for years – so working together was a logical move. The essential part of the cooperation was the fact that we were able to make use of the PSI database for three years. This enabled us to present and promote the Promotürk all over Europe – and beyond: Many visitors from the Middle East, the Balkan countries or from the Arabian Peninsula, who weren’t able to travel to Germany for the PSI Show due to visa difficulties, travelled to Istanbul instead over the past years. We are therefore very grateful to the PSI team and especially to Michael Freter.
Nevertheless, we have certainly made our contribution too: The number of Turkish exhibitors at the PSI Show increased from 28 to 75 over the past three years and the number of visitors from Turkey has also risen significantly. I predict that both the visitor and exhibitor figures will drop by 50% once the cooperation ends.
Why did you decide not to continue the cooperation?
Esad Ahmet Özdem: The contract with the PSI ran for three years and it expired this year. We didn’t extend it for several reasons. On the one hand – and this is quite simply bad luck – the cooperation period just happened to coincide with the economic crisis. As a result, some of our expectations were not fulfilled. Over the past few years the PSI Show has been battling with declining attendance figures and reduced exhibition space – the situation was particularly drastic at the last event. This brought the PSI a deficit in efficiency, which is why we ultimately no longer felt that the cooperation would bring us sufficient advantages and so we decided to terminate the contract due to the current situation.
Furthermore, the Germans take very longterm decisions, whereas in general we decide very fast and pragmatically. It is perhaps right to be cautious, but we like to think practically. This difference in mentality sometimes led to difficulties.
The PSI Show has to reinvent itself – a fact that the organisers have already recognised and an issue that they are currently addressing. The PSI has accepted our decision and one never knows what the future might bring. If things take a positive turn in the future, perhaps there is a chance that we can carry on our collaboration.
What is the situation with the Promotürk Show? The numbers of exhibitors has dropped.
Esad Ahmet Özdem: That is correct; there were approx. 20% less exhibitors at the last event. Furthermore, due to reasons of cost we have decided not to stage the show in two halls as we did last year, but in just one hall instead. The attendance figure has remained constant.
However, one thing is clear to us: We too must constantly move with the times, which is why we are introducing certain radical changes.
One of these is the revised venue date: In 2014, the show won’t be taking place in September as usual, but instead in April already – what is the reason for this?
Esad Ahmet Özdem: It wasn’t easy for us to make this decision after 28 years, but it is based on an intensive exchange with our members, with industry representatives and visitors. It is more convenient for a lot of the visitors to attend the show in April, when the majority of the big international shows take place, rather than in September, just before the yearend business kicks off. However, the most important reason for changing the date was to make it easier for our members in the manufacturing trade to export goods to Europe. Many big manufacturers – and here I mean companies with between 500 and 1,000 employees – were not able to attend in the past because their capacities were already exploited and they saw no way that they would be able to carry out additional comprehensive export activities in the remaining three months before the end of the year. We want to enable these members to participate and naturally the visitors will also profit as a result.
We want to expand the Promotürk as a contact platform between the Orient and the Occident. Visitors from Europe, who are looking for alternative suppliers in Turkey, should find a number of interesting and significant manufacturers of products of all kinds, which they didn’t even know existed before, because they didn’t visit Istanbul previously.
You are also changing the partner you organise the Promotürk together with from next year onwards.
Esad Ahmet Özdem: After working together with the EUF for years, starting from 2014 we will be cooperating with the Fiera Milano Interteks. The company disposes of an extensive database and we are hoping to increase both the number of exhibitors as well as the number of visitors with the aid of our new co-organiser.
What role does the venue relocation that is planned for 2014 play?
Esad Ahmet Özdem: We will be occupying a different hall within the CNR Expo. In this way we are staying at the same exhibition grounds, however the new halls are operated by a different company that is offering us much better conditions.
During the cooperation PSI members, who wanted to visit Istanbul, were offered special conditions. Will similar schemes be pursued in the future?
Esad Ahmet Özdem: As already mentioned, we take very fast decisions and are open to everything.
Is the Promotürk involved in networking activities that extend beyond the trade fair?
Esad Ahmet Özdem: Yes, we are indeed currently involved in several activities. Our own association publication, the Promotürk Magazine, appears in Turkish and English and is published in both digital format as well as being sent out in paper format to 3,500 recipients from our database pool. There are not many industry magazines that are published in two languages and we see the publication as a symbol for our international alignment.
Moreover, we advise companies that are looking for Turkish manufacturers. There are a lot of suppliers, but they are not all good. That is why we suggest that interested companies write to us, so that we can send them a list of Promotürk manufacturers, which we can naturally recommend.
As a member of EPPA, we consider ourselves to be part of the European industry – the thing that differentiates us from our European colleagues is the fact that real production capacities are still available in Turkey, something which many European players are looking for. Our aim is to push these contacts and we still see great potential here.
What is the general mood like in Turkey?
Esad Ahmet Özdem: It is a well-known fact that the Turkish industry is currently prospering. There is no bad news for our industry, nor for the overall economy and things are moving fast compared to many of the other neighbouring countries.
There is a lot happening on the political front of course too: What happened at the Gezi Park was the biggest test for democracy that our country has had to face over the last years. The young generation showed the world that it has a completely different outlook on things. The local elections are imminent and I think a lot will change – also in terms of the general elections.