A TOURISM CITY, ANTALYA, WISHES TO BE KNOWN ALSO WITH ITS TRADE FAIRS. PROJECTS IN THE FIELD OF TRADE FAIRS BESIDE THE HOTELS IN THE CITY PROVIDE THE NECESSARY INFRASTRUCTURE. THE NATURAL STONE TRADE FAIR, THE INAUGURAL ONE OF WHICH WAS ORGANIZED LAST YEAR BY PYRAMIDS FAIRS, REOPENS ITS DOORS THIS YEAR TO MARBLE BUYERS. WE TALKED ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE TRADE FAIR AND THE FUTURE TARGETS WITH PYRAMIDS FAIRSGENERAL MANAGER TOLGA TEZEL:
Could you tell us about Antalya Natural Stone trade fair a little? About its past, last year’s exhibition, who participated, how were the visitors…
The marble industry is a developing one in Turkey. From the perspective of natural resources, Turkey is number one in the world in terms of volume and diversity. Furthermore, the trade fair industry is vital for the economies of cities. Given that the second largest exporting industry in the region of Antalya, Isparta and Burdur, it is a must that the marble trade fair makes Antalya its home. Being aware of this need, we held the first Turkey Stone Antalya trade fair in May 2015.
Although it seems that new technologies have replaced the old ones, nothing brings the environment of confidence and deal making accompanying meeting face-to-face and shaking hands. We keep saying there is the Internet, that we mail each other, but don’t know with whom we are dealing. The facilities introduced by new yabantechnologies
are all very useful in marketing, media and promotion. We can shoot to target in attempting to get to the right people. But what’s really important is to bring together the firms and their customers under the same roof. This is exactly why the trade fair industry is very important and is the trade gate opening to target markets. It is so important not just to make deals or promote products and services but also to get to know the rivals and to see the conditions of competition.
As Pyramids Group, with our offices in Egypt, Iraq, Holland, Morocco and Turkey, and our international partners, we did a 1,000 person trade mission project for the trade fair from Europe, the Gulf, the Middle East, the Balkans, Russia and Turkic Republics alongside of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Greece, China and India.
Also, with service buses, we took especially our foreign visitors to plants and quarries, allowing them to see their capacities on site.
Yet another important feature of Antalya trade fair is that you are able to find beside the cult stones, also the stones of newly opened quarries. Being able to see the stones of new patterns and colors, you can invest in for the first time in Antalya. Because calendar-wise, the month of May is the best time the stone will move from the quarry to the showcase. You also have rapid access to Burdur-Afyon region, the home of beige/white shade stones. Antalya’s location attracts the attention especially of foreign visitors who give us positive feedback. The visitors comes to the trade fair, speaks with the firm, likes the stone and within maximum 2-3 hours, goes to the plant, sees the quarry with the firm official. This makes life so easy both for our firms and also our visitors. Just like last year, this year too, we got full support of the firms, associations and chambers of commerce and industry in the region.
What do participating firms say about the trade fair?
Our participants are quite happy with the visitor potential. the firms Antalya Marble, Sapphire Art Stone and Finike Marble took on the sponsorship of 2016. The participation of local and international firms is growing. Very soon, Antalya Trade Fair will grow, becoming an international one.
How is the trade fair organization this year? Who will be the visitors?
This year, we aim to attract 2,500 foreign visitors, mostly from the Gulf countries. As you know, for trade fairs, the first are always difficult. But we had a useful trade fair with our local and international advertising and marketing work, our trade fair visits and our broad Middle-Eastern connections, breaking the prejudice against Antalya. There is much greater interest this year. The industry is very happy with Antalya and wishes this trade fair to grow. Last year, the protocol were also interested in our trade fair. Especially, the Municipalities and Chambers of Commerce of Antalya and the neighboring cities were present. This year, too, we are sure that our trade fair will be a productive one, with the support of Antalya Municipalities Union, Kepez Municipality and ATSO-Antalya Chamber of Commerce and Industry and those institutions we will get support from as well. There are also architecture and construction associations abroad that give us support. Looking at the exports of Turkey, coming after China and the US, are Saudi Arabia, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Bahrain, Israel, Egypt, Algeria, Kuwait and Morocco. These countries are those we either have offices or if not offices, at least agent firms. There will be a 2,500 person trade mission program from these regions. We will also take our visitors to plants, to quarries.
The uses of natural stones used in covering, flooring and decorating rather than as building stones, are changing. For example, granite is used in cladding of buildings and on floors, with marble finding use in the construction industry in interiors and in fields like fine arts, interior design, tombs and grave stones. These visitors rank first on the list with the construction industry and architects being involved. Also, among our visitors, are the representatives of the hotel industry.
Considering world natural stone trade fairs, where do you position Antalya? How will Antalya trade fair serve the marble industry in the years to come?
As you know, the first coming to mind when one says Antalya is tourism. But it is a city where the trade network is also rising. Picking the correct place and time of marble, we bring together our participants and our visitors. Antalya is determined to add trade to tourism. Antalya Expo Center presently has an indoor area of 20,000 m2 and outdoor area of 10,000 m2 with the interior capacity going up to 42,000 m2 in 2017. Our aim is to fill this 52,000 m2. We are sure that compared to this year’s trade fair, the 2016 one will resonate with our sponsors. Antalya and the Turkish marble industry are gaining a wonderful and growing market. The visitors, on the other hand, already know Antalya and are very pleased that there is an exhibition here.
Thank you for the valuable information.