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Photokina Trade Show Looks to Expand Despite Shaky Global Economy



Photokina Trade Show Looks to Expand Despite Shaky Global Economy

by Dan Havlik

Despite an uncertain world economy in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks, the "photokina" imaging trade show in Germany will be significantly expanded this year to make room for a new array of exhibitors.

That was the news according to Bernd Aufderheide, executive vice president of KölnMesse, the organization overseeing photokina. Aufderheide was the keynote speaker at a recent press conference in New York to promote the sprawling photo trade show, which will be held this year from September 25-30 in Cologne, Germany.

"Hardly any other sector has experienced as much change over the past years as the sector for image technology," Aufderheide said. "And photokina, as the world's leading business platform for the imaging sector, fully reflects this transformation."

Known officially as the "World of Imaging," and more colloquially as "The World's Fair of Imaging," photokina 2002 will occupy some 220,000 square meters of exhibition space in Cologne, providing room for more than 1,600 imaging manufacturers from 45 countries. The total exhibition space has been increased by 20,000 square meters from the last time photokina was held in 2000.

Aufderheide said the show's expansion reflects industry-wide growth resulting from the convergence of imaging and information technology. New groups of exhibitors expected to take part in photokina 2002 as a result of this merging of technologies, will be from the areas of consumer electronics, telecommunications, information technology and pre-press, he noted.

"The importance of the image as a key means of communication has grown to such a degree that photokina now attracts not only a wider range of trade visitors but also the general public to an increasing extent. As a result, we expect that the number of visitors will continue to rise."

More than 60 percent of exhibitors at photokina 2002 will be from countries other than Germany, with the U.S. once again being the largest foreign contingent, with some 160 companies represented. At photokina 2000, approximately 162,000 visitors from 138 countries packed the exhibition center in Cologne.

To better accommodate the new variety of exhibitors this year, the main product areas have been reorganized and reduced to three. The Consumer Photo Video Imaging area will be located in Halls 1 to 8 and Hall 11; Professional Photo & Imaging, which includes photofinishing, will be concentrated in Halls 9 and 10, and Professional Media/Infocomm Europe will be in Hall 14. Products and services in each of these areas will be grouped together according to themes.

Adding Hall 11 to the Consumer area will allow exhibitors, such as photo, video, digital imaging and home cinema companies, to expand their space to offer more elaborate and in-depth presentations, Aufderheide noted.

Bernd Aufderheide, executive vice president of KölnMesse, at a recent press conference in New York City, to promote this year's photokina show.

-photo by Richard Lewin

"I think this demonstrates particularly well the importance of photokina, especially in view of the fact that exhibitors are reducing their budgets for many other events," he said.

"The expansion of the exhibition space also makes it possible to plan more generous passages to smooth the flow through the exhibition center."

In addition to the wide range of imaging products on display at photokina, the show will feature a supporting program of conferences, seminars, workshops, action centers and meetings for professionals. One of the newest additions to the supporting program is the Young Imaging Event which is designed to get young people interested in image making. The Young Imaging Event will include everything from the Photo Factory-where visitors can borrow digital cameras and then process and print their images electronically-to model casting and shooting sessions, contests and dance and DJ acts.

Although the world economy continues to languish, Aufderheide remained optimistic about this year's photokina. "We expect that the new world of imaging will not only bring us an even greater number of exhibitors but also an increase in visitors, as well as new and stimulating ideas for the imaging sector and the further consolidation of photokina as the industry's key, global marketplace."

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