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Interkama to merge with Hannover Fair from 2004

01 May, 2003

Interkama, claimed to be the world`s largest trade show for the process automation sector, is to become part of the Hannover Fair from next year. The move, from Interkama`s traditional base in Düsseldorf, will also bring forward Hannover`s previously announced plan to alternate its focus annually between the process and manufacturing automation sectors. This was originally scheduled to start in 2005.

The changes come against a background of falling attendances at most German industrial trade shows, partly as a result of the economic downturn. The number of visitors at this year`s Hannover Fair dropped by more than 44,000 to around 200,000, while the number of exhibitors fell by 233 to 6,238. The last Interkama, held in September 2001, attracted 42,000 visitors.

Hannover has also been hit by the decision by German robot-makers to withdraw their support from the event to set up their own show in Munich starting from 2004.

The Hannover Fair`s organisers, Deutsche Messe, argue that other factors, including the Iraq war and fears about the SARS virus also added to the "difficult circumstances" surrounding this year`s show and insist that the number of visitors "far exceeded expectations".

The new arrangements mean that Interkama`s dates are changing for the second time. Originally, the biennial show was scheduled to take place from 27-31 October 2003 in Düsseldorf, but this was shifted to 16-20 February 2004 following visitor and exhibitor surveys, and recommendations from the associations that sponsor the event. It will now be staged in Hannover from 19-24 April, 2004.

Interkama`s organisers, Messe Düsseldorf, will also be collaborating with Deutsche Messe on international events. For example, Interkama China, which was held for the first time in Shanghai this March, will be organised jointly in future. Similar events are planned for Russia, the Czech Republic and India.

The two organising groups argue that by opposing the fragmentation of individual trade fairs, they have chosen to act responsibly for the benefit of the economy at large. Professor Klaus Goehrmann, chairman of the Deutsche Messe board, says that the collaboration proves not only that the organisers "take our clients` interests very seriously, but also that we set them above self-serving considerations".

Wilhelm Niedergöker, Messe Düsseldorf`s managing director, is convinced that the joint initiative "has made a major contribution to bolstering Germany`s status as a prime location for trade fairs".

"The real winners are the process and manufacturing automation industries," adds Sepp Heckmann, the Deutsche Messe board member responsible for the Hannover Fair. "In future, they will be able to gear themselves towards one leading international trade fair."

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