From TradeFairs International 2/2016

The International Federation of Exhibition and Event Services (IFES) is holding its World Summit from 2 to 4 June. The event provides a good illustration of the challenges we are currently facing.

The recent terrorist attacks in Turkey have had an impact on the event industry. For example, Hamburg Messe cancelled its international maritime conference and exhibition SMM Istanbul a day after the suicide attack in January. The IFES is taking a different approach, remaining true both to its host city of Istanbul and to the event’s slogan: “Bridge to the Future”. “Whatever we do, we can never be totally safe,” asserts Voicu Sferdianu, president of the IFES. “But we are, of course, aware of the necessity to consider all conceivable security measures,” he emphasises. That is one reason why he and his colleagues on the organising committee are maintaining intensive contact with the authorities in Istanbul. The venue, the ICC, is considered to be one of the safest in the city. The convention centre is just five minutes’ walk from the recommended hotels.

IFES managing director Uta Goretzky is keen to stress that everyone in the federation understands the seriousness of situation. It is important to address any fears or concerns participants may have, and action has already been taken: “We have made some changes to the event’s programme,” explains Goretzky. Organised leisure and sightseeing activities at prominent locations in Istanbul have been curtailed for security reasons. “We are avoiding crowded tourist attractions in Istanbul,” says Goretzky. The professional and social aspects of the event, on the other hand, have all been retained. On the first evening there will be a welcome reception on the Bosporus. The real business of the IFES World Summit takes place over the next two days, 3 and 4 June – with talks, workshops, business meetings and plenty of opportunities for networking. On the evening of 3 June, the Bosporus will again be playing a starring role, when a gala dinner will be held on the bank of the strait that separates Europe from Asia.

The IFES has again managed to attract speakers from different industries, including Turkish Airlines CEO Temel Kotil. Haluk Yalcin, the territory senior partner at PricewaterhouseCooper Turkey, will be providing an insight into the economic situation in Turkey, while Alexander Kühnel, general manager of Hannover Messe Turkey, will be talking about how trade fairs can be used as a means to enter the Turkish market. The head of Turkish environmental organisation Tema, Deniz Atac, will be looking into the future, as will Mert Firat, the founder of Ihtiyac Haritasi, who works with associations and foundations to encourage corporate social responsibility. The IFES World Summit slogan, “Bridge to the Future”, thus has many different facets. “Our federation is an open-minded community,” affirms IFES president Voicu Sferdianu. “So an open exchange involving different cultures is something that inspires us.” That alone is a reason to come to the IFES World Summit in Istanbul.

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