Over the years, various delegations from stone-production countries around the world have banded together to form national pavilions on the show floor at Coverings. At the most recent edition of this event in Orlando, FL, the Istanbul Mineral and Metals Exporters' Association (IMMIB) made a major impact with the creation of a “stone village” inhabited by producers of Turkish marble, granite and travertine. This village was a major attraction at the show, and in addition to exhibits of natural stone products, visitors received a wealth of information on the Turkish stone industry, including historical literature, CD-ROM handouts, color sample books and other products.

“In Turkey, marble and other natural stone sectors have seen major development in the last decade,” said Ali Kahyaoglu, chairman of the Istanbul Mineral Exporters' Association. “Turkey has had a place as one of the most important marble and natural stone production centers of the world, with rich marble reserves and an improving marble processing industry. In particular, investments made by large companies and modern production techniques accelerated this development.”

Turkish stone producers are targeting American consumers more than ever, Kahyaoglu said, citing the vast untapped potential within the marketplace. “The U.S. is economically one of the strongest countries of the world, [yet] has very little natural stone consumption per person,” he said. “Our goal is to increase our exports and add as much value as we possibly can to our economy. We, as Turkish companies, will take part in such organizations to be able to promote and advertise our products, and as the Istanbul Mineral and Metals Association (IMMIB), we will make our sector very well known in the world -- with other events and organizations -- and increase our exports to the desired levels altogether.”

Specific growth totals of Turkish stone production were highlighted by M. Mutli Oktem, the secretary general of the Istanbul Mineral and Metals Exporters' Association. “In 2003, our total exports of natural stone were $430.7 million in value and 2,197,500 tons in volume. Our exports to the U.S. were $141 million in value and 259,831 in volume,” he said. “If we look at the figures of 1988, the total value of natural stone exports from Turkey was $24.8 million. This significant increase shows us the value of attending fairs and expositions like this. Our target is to export to new markets while keeping the existing ones to increase our export figures.”

The Turkish stone village saw brisk activity during Coverings 2004, and it reported positive results at the event. This type of presence is also planned at future stone-related events. “In our opinion, to attend similar fairs in target countries will help to expand our export market and affect our export volume positively,” Oktem said.

For more information, visit www.turkishstones.org.

Istanbul Mineral and Metals Association (IMMIB) Exhibitors at Coverings 2004

Alacakaya Marble
Antalya Marble
Bandirma Marble
Basaranlar Marble
Bati Ege Marble
Canel Mining
Cekicler Marble
Cevikler Marble
Demirtas Mining
Ece Marble
Enmersan Marble & Granite
Federal Marble
Granitas Granite
HP Marble
Hurok Marble & Travertine
Istanbul Marble - Giazzi
Kamer Marble
Karamehmet Travertine & Marble
Kur Marble & Granite
Ozcelik Marble - Ionia Stone
Polmer Travertine
Simtas Marble & Granite
Toprak Marble
Vezir Mining
Yalcinkaya Marble