Danka Selić, Belgrade Fair CEO:

Building Trade Fair Is Building Us

We will justify our leadership position in this part of the world with wide-ranging and representative exhibition programmes, technical and technological innovations, educational and informative national exhibitions, special projects, presentations, expert meetings, lectures and promotional activities

This year’s 44th International Building Trade Fair will bring together at least 550 Serbian and 30 foreign exhibitors, tens of thousands of visitors and businesspeople from all construction sectors – from planning, designing and construction, to materials, construction machinery, equipment and tools.

Nowadays, Serbia is hardly lagging behind in the construction industry at all, and the Building Trade Fair plays an important role in sharing experiences and strengthening communication with the world. How many domestic and foreign exhibitors do you expect this year?

– According to the interest shown so far and the pace and dynamics of registration, the lower limit of our expectations exceeds 550 exhibitors, at least a third of which will be foreign exhibitors coming from 30 countries. We also expect about 40,000 visitors, including an increasing number of business visitors with companies. We should also mention the stone trade fair, StoneExpo Serbia, as a separate thematic unit and the largest international fair event in the field of natural stone and its industry. More than 20 countries in the region and worldwide have announced their participation in this expo.

I have to emphasise that we have strong support in all of this from the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure of the Republic of Serbia, which has joined us in building successful communication with the economy over the years.

According to numerous business parameters – from attendance, via the representation of innovative technologies or materials, all the way to demonstrating the business potentials of the entire industrial sector – the Building Trade Fair has for decades been a reliable indicator of what, and to what extent, we should as organisers make suggestions through the trade fair concept to key factors in the construction industry, but also what we should pass on to others during the trade fair, in terms of their own experience.

In this context, for the time being the number of exhibitors is secondary compared to the diversities, productive innovation and attractiveness of exhibitors, as well as their supremacy in trend-setting and rules of conduct.

We expect the arrival of companies operating in the field of construction, real estate agencies and architectural offices with investment projects in which both local and regional builders would find their place

The upcoming trade fair is one of the most visited fair events, traditionally bringing together the most eminent domestic and foreign exhibitors from the construction industry. Which products do you think will attract the greatest attention of visitors?

– Given that the trade fair is conceived as a multisectoral and multidisciplinary exhibition offering something for everyone, attracting attention and, above all, satisfying specific interests of individual visitors, the most accurate answer to this question is that every single thing will attract visitors’ attention.

Nevertheless, as organisers, we have exerted additional efforts to highlight the growing number of exhibitors in the field of construction machinery, which will, due to increased interest, occupy two halls of the Belgrade Fair and a large part of the open space, as well as the content and designing innovative concepts of small exhibitors of construction machinery, equipment and tools. After several years of stagnation, a better exposure of brick and tile producers is now expected. We anticipate a rich selection of various roof coverings and announce an extremely high quality and diverse offer of heating equipment, all in accordance with increasingly demanding energy, environmental and financial standards.

As found by our market analyses and user recommendations, this year we’ll offer visitors two new product groups: “Real Estate- Investment” and “Architecture-Urbanism”.

New technologies, especially in the field of digitisation, have deeply penetrated the construction industry. Will this trend be visible at this year’s fair?

– New technologies are certainly implied and completely included in the requirement for innovation and progress of any kind, whether that applies to entirely new building materials or building technologies, familiar existing materials or technologies which, via professional intervention, seem to be more accessible to a wider range of users, redesigned or commercialised in a new way through this trade fair. This is especially applicable to IT, digital and communication technologies, and all kinds of innovative, specialised, applied software that has not been an exception in the construction industry for a longer period, but rather a logical necessity.

Due to high demand, construction machinery will occupy two halls of Belgrade Fair and a major part of the open space, with the focus on the content and designing of innovative concepts by exhibitors of small construction machinery, equipment and tools

This year’s 44th International Building Trade Fair is primarily a gathering place for businesspeople from all construction sectors, from planning, designing and construction, to materials, construction machinery, equipment and tools. Do you have any information about the direct and indirect level of impact of this trade fair on contracted works?

– One of the features of the fair industry, especially in this form of fair, is that most business effects are seen, disclosed or recognised only after the closing of the Fair’s gates. Some of these effects fall into the domain of business secrets or legitimate hiding from the competition. We can see that our business initiatives are respectable and effective on an international scale from the fact that business partners return year after year, with more enthusiasm and increased expectations, and the fact that the number of business visitors is growing constantly and exhibitors are becoming increasingly diverse.

Have you organised supporting fair events, such as panel debates, expert lectures, training courses and presentations? If so, which would you recommend to visitors?

– The supporting professional programme is, so to speak, the middle name of this fair, and is often quite measurable compared to the exhibiting part. There is almost no exhibiting sector that is not covered by related logistical support of various forms – from roundtables to presentations, from expert lectures to demos, casual educational forms or even games. The complete programme is finalised some time before the fair, and it would be wrong to favour some parts of the fair and specifically recommend them.

Belgrade Fair is an important institution with a rich tradition and region-wide influence. To what extent, for instance, does the Fair boost the number of overnight stays in Belgrade during the year?

– The company did not count on this effect until last year’s scientific research on the impact of the Belgrade Fair on the economies of Belgrade and Serbia. For example, in 2016, the events of Belgrade Fair alone attracted to Belgrade and its hotels nearly 50,000 foreign and 20,000 local guests, who collectively spent around a billion dinars. And that is only a small part of it, while a significant part of that overall benefit certainly belongs to the Building Trade Fair.