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There were 420 direct exhibitors at the fair, including 80 foreign exhibitors from 18 different countries, spread over a net surface of over 235,000 square feet. Among the companies participating, 42.8% were exhibiting technology, 37% stone, 16% specialized services and 3.5% machines for handling and lifting.
According to show organizers, a total of 18,022 industry professionals visited the CarraraMarmotec fair. Of this total, 4,180 were foreign, coming from 90 different countries. There was a rise in European operators and those from the Near and Middle East. According to a survey by the organizers, participants feel that the fair is more specialized, and it is being visited by a higher concentration of stone processors.
Organizers said that attendance increased slightly this year, rising by 2%, and foreign attendance increased 2.5%. There was a strong presence from France (10% of the total), Germany (7%), Spain and Switzerland (5%), the U.S., Great Britain and Brazil (4%), India, Belgium, Tunisia and Hungary (3%), with the remaining 35% coming from other countries. Following the patterns of previous fairs, the show's attendance was stronger as the days went on.
â€œA very satisfying result, if we take into consideration the sector's domestic situation, which highlights some very important elements,â€ Giancarlo Tonini, president of IMM Carrara, who said that added promotional activities were carried the Near and Middle East and Eastern Europe, with a â€œboom of operatorsâ€ coming from a few countries in the Mediterranean area. â€œThis worldwide influx trend of operators has been consolidated, with a significant increase for those operating in the 'historical' areas of extraction and use.â€
Tonini said the most interesting visitor increases are those coming from Mediterranean Africa and the Near and Middle East: Algeria (+74%), Tunisia (+19%), Lebanon (+108%) and Kuwait (+32%); there was also a notable increase of visitors from Poland (+96%), the Czech Republic and Switzerland (+73%), Belgium (+42%), while Germany at +3% shows the same increase as China.
Italian operators, in addition to a strong Tuscan presence, considering the location of CarraraMarmotec, came from Lombardy (10%), Liguria (7%), Veneto (6%), Emilia (5%), followed by Apulia and Piedmont (4%), Campania (3%) and Sardinia with 2%.
Visitor surveyA visitor survey was also carried out during the 2004 edition of CarraraMarmotec, with face-to-face interviews of 1,000 attendees (60.6% Italian and 39.4% foreign). When analyzing the responses, organizers report that the exhibition is visited by company owners and managers, with a significant increase in technicians and varying geographical origin.
The foreign visitors interviewed came from 90 nations: 48% were European, while 52% came from other continents. A total of 36% of the total interviewees said they were company owners or directors, and the presence of technicians and other professionals has increased, with both categories making up 15% of the interviewees.
Regarding area of activity, 39% of foreign interviewees said that they operated in the processing sector and 16% in extraction. Meanwhile, Italian interviewees reported to operate mainly in the processing sector (29%), mechanics industry (15%), sales (15%) and extraction industry (12%).
A total of 41% of the interviewees said that they had visited the fair because they were interested in machinery for processing and finishing (for the Italians the percentage was 45%, compared with 42% in 2003) while the percentage interested in blocks decreased (22% compared with 26% last year). Interestingly, slab interest also declined, (23% compared with 32% in 2003).
At the time of the survey, 25% of interviewees had already contacted companies known to them, and 24% of foreigners had already made orders or purchases. Among the Italians, 33% said that their objective was to see tech-nological innovations, while 43% of foreigners said that they were at the fair to â€œmake orders and purchases.â€
A large majority of the interviewees (67%) gave a positive rating to CarraraMarmotec. Foreign visitors were more satisfied, as 73% gave an opinion of â€œgood to excellent,â€ and 63% of Italians reported the show to be â€œgood to excellent.â€
As proof of professional interest towards the fair and for the entire area, 69% of foreign visitors said that they attended the fair for more than one day: 26% two days, 20% three days and 23% attended the fair for all four days; also 26% of Italians said that they attended for more than one day.
â€œThese are positive results, which put together with the signs of the sector's revival,â€ said Paris Mazzanti, General Manager of IMM. â€œIt allows us to say that Carrara is reconfirmed as a high-level international meeting point, with operators coming from all over the world.â€
The next edition of CarraraMarmotec will be held from June 1 to 4, 2005.