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Exhibition World | InterviewThE magazinE for ThE global ExhibiTion communiTy WWW.ExhibiTion-World.nET | may 2011 | 21well experienced and hard-working team but also we have a network of agents, supporting bodies, sponsors and contributing governmental and non-governmental organisations.Add to this the partnering bodies with who we co-organise specialised events. This comes as part of the game, when you're a leader; large organisations want to benefit from your experience and strength to ensure they reach their goal when they have their events.Are there any countries or regions you would particularly like to enter or expand your presence in over the next 24 months? If so, are there any obstacles or issues you would like to address?Yes, we are serving the region and where the region needs us to be we will be.We don't always have to have an office and permanent staff to be present. As I told you earlier, we had our first Rebuild Iraq in Kuwait and at the time we were only present in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.We have our expansion plan and we have our presence plan but we execute what best fits the market. Our ultimate goal is to succeed but we do not just want to go to a country just to add another spot on the map. We have to make a difference and succeed.As a Middle East specialist, do you see the growing number of international organisers entering places such as Saudi Arabia as a threat or an opportunity for partnership? I see this as an indicator of potential and proof that we are delivering good work and providing value, otherwise the market would have not asked for more.We nourished the market and showed value and this is why others are coming.Competition is healthy, but I believe we have an edge over the others, however, we cannot see why we would not partner with others when a partnership can lead to further success. On the other side, we keep innovating and are driven by both the needs of the market and the competition. How is the current political activity in the Middle East affecting your business? For example, how has your business in Syria or Egypt been affected?Politics highly impacts trade activities and therefore trade fairs are highly dependent on stability. Luckily our major operations are in stable and flourishing countries. Despite all the turmoil in the region we expect to achieve additional growth in 2011.What trends are you noticing emerging in the international exhibition industry in general?I believe that the exhibition industry is all about networking and socialising with the aim of doing business. The human element of networking and socialising will never change but the industry of networking is changing in terms of technology and digitalisation.Moreover, the industry is evolving in parallel to the needs of companies and the market. Today we need to really find the companies that the country we are exhibiting in requires and not only the companies wanting to enter this specific market.What would you be doing if you were not working in the exhibition industry? Certainly working in a social activity. People only succeed when they do something they like. Networking is at the heart of our business because I have pleasure doing this.And finally, what do you do to relax?Surprisingly I get relaxed by networking and socialising. I'm always surrounded by friends. I think this is why we have made such a wonderful business out of networking. Albert AounOur ultimate goal is to succeed, but we do not want to go to a country just to add another spot on the map. We have to make a difference and succeed.

Turkey | Exhibition World22| May 2011 | THE MAGAZINE FOR THE GLOBAL EXHIBITION COMMUNITY WWW.EXHIBITION-WORLD.NET Turkey's geo-political position has long made it a staging ground for unlocking the economic potential of Eurasia; the Balkans, Ukraine, Russia, mid-Asia and the Middle East; a region inhabited by more than a billion people.In recent months we've seen an acceleration of exhibition businesses entering Turkey. And with rumours of a large government-owned venue being mooted for Istanbul, in addition to the existing largest venues CNR and TUYAP, the future looks bright. Under the watch of president Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan, the Turkish exhibition sector is being allowed to grow at a rate consistent with international interest. Turkey is at the forefront of regional efforts to establish a free trade zone, an ambition that becomes increasingly pertinent as markets become more free and trade routes open with the collapse of closed-minded governments falling amid the huge political changes taking place in the Middle East.Turkey offers few barriers to entry. Its exhibition sector is entirely owned by the private sector, while the Government actively promotes trade and investment with neighbours with which it has had formerly fractious relationships, such as Iran and Syria. Additionally, and in line with its policy of cooperation with neighbours, Turkey's visa diplomacy has removed travel restrictions with countries including Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iran. In testament to this, a million Syrians are expected to visit Turkey for cross-border trade this year.The country's yearly trade with the Arab world now stands at US$30bn, up from $2bn a decade ago.Istanbul holds a strong position as a connection point providing direct daily fl ights from 50 countries or cities. In this context, Istanbul offers major geographical argument for meeting in terms of international exhibitions.Turkish organiser NTSR, one of the biggest local players, says Turkey offers development potential as strong as in the BRIC countries. It has several partnerships with international companies and has done so, on a project basis, for 30 years. "Different partnerships are emerging in exhibitions being organised for the future," according to the president of NTSR, Serkan Tiglioglu (pictured above)."We enter such partnerships after analysing the value created, and the advantages that can be provided. Some of NTSR's exhibitions created that effect and have been sustaining and reinforcing these partnerships for almost 15 years. We believe this is an indicator of the synergistic and successful job we accomplished," he comments.With rumours of a new Government venue being developed and new partnerships with Eurasian neighbours, there will be a lot more growth in Turkey over the coming years. EW investigates the market's potential for international organisers.Where East meets West