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Capitalising on all the fun of the fair

When times are hard, it can be difficult to persuade people to cross the threshold and spend money. If that is the case, you have to get out there and sell, which the UK appears to be doing rather well.

Despite the economic malaise and intense pressure on marketing budgets, trade shows and exhibitions are booming.

The industry is estimated to have contributed £5.6 billion or 0.4 GDP of national income in 2010, according to a new study by Oxford Economics. This compares with a £4.14 billion contribution in 2005.

Total spending on events, including indirect expenditure at shops, restaurants and hotels, reached £11 billion in 2010, from £9.3 billion five years earlier. Informa, Reed Exhibitions and Euromoney lead the field.

The improved figures comes despite an 11 per cent fall in the actual number of exhibitions, yet the growth of the industry is such that it is responsible for one pound in every £200 in Treasury coffers, according to the study.

Karim Halwagi, chief executive of the Association of Event Organisers, said, “ We can see clear evidence that live events and exhibitions are really fighting their corner against traditional routes to the consumer, such as TV, radio, print and digital.”

Exhibitors expected to generate on average an extra £800,000in sales from attending trade events or £170,000 from shows aimed at the public, researchers found. While these numbers were inflated by a handful of companies more than a third of exhibitors expected to generate between £10,000 and £50,000.

Written by Marcus Leroux.

First published at The Times.