Danka Selić, General Director of the Belgrade Fair

We Have Always Been Building the Future

Thanks to good organisation, the Building Trade Fair is the best and most representative of this year's gatherings of building trade entrepreneurs on a wider European scale, as evidenced by more than 600 participants from some 30 countries, with 40,000 visitors expected

Danka Selić,

Our strongest plans for Belgrade Fair are reflected in the fact that we are worthy of our own history and better than any surprises that the future will bring. All of our concrete plans, and we have many, are just small practical steps on this great road, says Danka Selić.

Have you again this year been able to gather the most relevant domestic, European and global companies in the field of construction?

– We have. According to the logic of things, our business obsession, some would say our mission, is reflected in the fact that the best can be found at the Fair, that they offer and introduce the best of what they have and know, to make this year’s best promotions and breakthroughs in their activities and specialities precisely at our Fair. Our goal is to jointly make this Fair the best and most representative year-round gathering of “builders” even on a wider European scale. It may sound immodest, but the initiative for gathering and appearing at the Fair is increasingly coming from these top companies, aware of their professional and business interests, even without our efforts as organisers.

Thanks to us, promising but not well-known companies feel equal and competitive in the company of the best and globally established, which is flattering for both, to the benefit of the event and the profession.

More than 600 reported exhibitors are talking about this, of which at least one third are foreign, from around 30 countries. We expect about 40,000 visitors, among which there are growing numbers of those with well-established credentials.

Can construction be a driver of economic development, are new knowledge and innovations on their way to make technological progress in construction?

– Under the slogan “Building the Future Now”, new technologies and knowledge are included in the demand for innovation and progress in all fields, whether it’s entirely new building materials or building technologies. This is especially true for IT, digital and communication technologies, all kinds of innovative, specialised and applied software that has long been in the construction industry is nothing exclusive, but an accompanying element and logical need.

Such an attitude towards the new and the innovative is one of our little “God’s commandments”, because that is the only way we can remain an indicator of what we as organisers should suggest to the decision-makers in the construction industry as the decisive factors, and to what extent we should transfer their experience to others during the fair.

All this is connected with our desire and intention to be maximally multi-sector and multidisciplinary. In addition to everything meant by “classic” exhibition stands at a Building Fair, this year we are further developing new branding groups that we introduced last year – “Real Estate – Investments” and “Architecture – Urbanism”. We are doing everything to present companies engaged in construction, real estate agencies and architecture bureaus that have investment projects in which local and regional builders can find opportunities.

Exhibitors have the greatest benefit from participating in the Fairs, since for each euro invested in participation they earn at least two euros while the Fair lasts, and after the end of the Fair this ratio reaches eight euros to one

At this year’s Building Fair, will Belgrade Fair also try to raise the quality of communication in the business environment and to also support companies in agreeing to new deals?

– Since our business initiatives are respected and effective internationally, as there are more and more diverse exhibitors, and since business partners return to us with more and more enthusiasm and expectations year after year, the logical consequence is the continuous increase in the number of business visitors, global promoters or large customers, who in today’s fair business are an unavoidable factor. For several years now, we’ve adopted almost all of the company’s business philosophy to them.

At this year’s building fair, we are continuing to improve the quality of communication in the business environment, primarily by improving the application of B2B programs, in support of information, business and agreeing on new deals. This way we strive to raise the business segment to a higher level and offer participants the opportunity to reach potential business partners even before the event itself, to schedule business meetings… We have created special packages for business visitors and guests who can receive numerous “technical privileges” to facilitate work and communication – from purely business and organisational to “recreational”, accessing the Business Lounge, free Wi-Fi, securing a place for short business meetings, helping to arrange meetings, using computers, printers and other benefits and services.

You have done a lot of things to bring back the old glory to the Belgrade Fair. With what plans did you start your ninth decade of operations?

– Without any hesitation, I can say that the fame of the Belgrade Fair never, at any time of its history, was shaken, especially not by its own fault. Only the times, states, circumstances for survival and doing business have changed. The task of new generations is to maintain this glory, give it new splendour and more modern meaning. We believe we are doing it successfully.

It is important that we remain a real driver of economic development, not just through activity in the construction industry, but through all the interlaced and networked economic sectors as a whole

In cooperation with the Economic Institute from Belgrade, you have completed a professional analysis of the impact of the Belgrade Fair in Belgrade and Serbia. What came out of that?

– Two years ago we received the information that we are in fact much more important for Belgrade, Serbia, the economy, society, in fact much more important than we are in our own self-confident and optimistic perceptions. In addition, I will not even mention the key issue – total tax revenues, which are the most direct benefits for the state and its budget from the company. And at that time, that was an interesting confirmation for us of what we had so far only assumed, that every dinar made by the Belgrade Fair‘s operations is almost instantaneously multiplied three to four times and in the national economy even 11 times.

It turned out that, during 2016, exhibitions of the Belgrade Fair attracted 70,000 foreign and domestic guests to Belgrade and its hotels, and they all together spent around one billion dinars. This means that every tenth Belgrade guest that year, business or tourist, came to Belgrade especially because of some Fair event. It is understood that these figures for the Belgrade Fair are more favourable today than in 2016.

What is the biggest value of the Fair? The exhibition halls? The position of Belgrade as a regional centre? Its location?

– It seems to me that the answer to this difficult question is very easy – in everything you have listed and in everything you have not. I have a clearer and more concrete impression that the Belgrade Fair is actually a universal value, which includes the undeniable value of the brand, and the labour of past generations, as well as the historical aura.