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Italian trade fairs, €22.5 billion business. Maurizio Danese confirmed as president of Aefi

531 events organized by the national exhibition system (42 in food & beverage). A return to pre-Covid numbers is expected in 2024
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Maurizio Danese, president of Aefi, with the Minister of Made in Italy, Adolfo Urso

Maurizio Danese, CEO Veronafiere, has been unanimously confirmed at the helm of Aefi, the association of reference for the Italian trade fair system; he will be joined by vice presidents Simona Rapastella, Antonio Bruzzone, Maurizio Renzo Ermeti and Renato Pujatti. This was decided by the Aefi assembly today at Mimit's Palazzo Piacentini, after also electing the board of directors in the presence of, among others, the Minister of Business and Made in Italy, Adolfo Urso. Appointed members included Antonio Bruzzone (managing director of BolognaFiere), Maurizio Renzo Ermeti (president Italian exhibition group), Pietro Piccinetti (Sicilia Fiera), Renzo Piraccini (president Cesena Fiera) and Renato Pujatti (president Pordenone Fiere) in the “exhibition districts” category. For the “organizers” category, Brenda Bellei (CEO of White), Simona Rapastella (managing director FederUnacoma-Eima) and Silvio Viale (president International Book Fair of Turin).
A strategic sector, that of Italian trade fairs, a system that, according to Prometeia data, is the second in Europe and the fourth in the world represents a business multiplier, with an impact on territories quantifiable at 22.5 billion euros a year. An important driver also in terms of trade fair tourism, whose value calculated by Prometeia exceeds 10 billion euros a year, corresponding to an added value of 4.8 billion euros.
According to Aefi, 2023 will close with further growth in the Italian trade show industry, with the prospect of catching up with 2019 numbers set for 2024. It is 9.64 million square meters of exhibition space used this year, 10% more than 2022, but still 10% less than 2019.
Nearly 125,000 trade show exhibitors and 18 million visitors, up on last year (+20%), but also compared to the 2019 benchmark (+4%), proving that trade show business-to-business confirms itself as a key lever for the Italian enterprise. There were 531 events between domestic (264) and international (267). Among the latter, the sectors of textiles, clothing, fashion (53 fairs) stand out, followed by food, beverages, hospitality (42), sports, art, entertainment (38) and industry, technology, mechanics (30); with Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany and Veneto adding up to 70% of the international fairs organized in Italy.
“The second term certainly looks less complicated, but certainly no less challenging, than the first”, said Aefi President Maurizio Danese, “in which the pandemic imposed a temporary halt on the entire trade fair system. If we are still planning the growth of the sector, it is largely thanks to the country's institutions, which have well understood the role of trade fairs as the main carrier of Made in Italy, contributing in a decisive way to the resilience of a system that was almost wiped out in the Covid years. Today”, concluded the president, also CEO of Veronafiere, “Aefi is relaunching its mission, strengthening the unitary representativeness of the trade fair industry. At the same time, it will work together with the government for a decisive acceleration on the front of events organized abroad and by increasingly opening the membership to organizers of major events”. Evidence of this is the recent growth in new members: in addition to 40 of Italy’s leading trade fair districts, 13 event organizers representing different sectors of the made-in-Italy industry have been added.
The Minister of Business and Made in Italy, Adolfo Urso, explains that “we need to improve our ability to project ourselves on international markets: together we win, divided we lose. This emblematic slogan also applies to the Italian trade fair system: there is a need to work together to create a single arm that can enable trade fairs to present themselves compactly abroad. The goal is to bring their own peculiarities into a system. The Ministry is willing to work with the sector to make Italy more competitive globally”.

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