While the French trade show world is talking about the Comexposium group’s share capital restructuring, which is big news right now, Italy is gearing towards a completely different subject that I am sure will interest you.
The Italian government has decided to set up a “revolutionary” export support programme to promote Italian industry, particularly in a number of key sectors (food, clothing, optical, furniture and decoration).
The programme anticipates an investment of €261 million in 2015, six times the average public investment made to promote exports over the past five years.
€48 million of this investment will go directly to promoting some 30 flagship trade shows internationally. The trade shows that will receive support must meet a number of criteria, including:
they must be in the top five globally in their sector
they must not compete with a counterpart trade show in Italy
they must propose a detailed promotion strategy to attract buyers, particularly international buyers.
The €48 million will go directly to trade show organisers and will be used to promote the shows internationally. It is expected that the mid-term programme will be extended over several years.
Some of the trade shows concerned (the list is circulating) are up-and-coming or are already challenging us (such as Vinitaly, Cibus, Simei and Milano Unica), while others are serious competitors of French trade shows (Mido, Salone del Mobile, Cosmoprof).
The latest article published on 2 March in Il Corriere della Sera stated that “Milano Unica, the textiles trade show, will receive €6.5 million in subsidies. In total, trade shows in the fashion sector can expect subsidies amounting to €18 million, with €11 million for trade shows in the mechanical sector and €7 million for food.”
This is a very large investment of public funds, which is both reassuring because it shows the importance Italians place on trade shows as an export platform (Italy is France’s top country in terms of visitors and exhibitors), and worrying because of the threat of increased competition.
I would like to thank Patrizia Ferrandi, our representative in Italy, for providing us with this information, which I believe to be important and therefore wanted to share with you. We will continue to monitor how the Italian government implements this decision. It may have a direct impact on our activities in France and will undoubtedly justify a corresponding reaction.