An industry meeting point is the place where all the important global players and visitor groups come together to do successful business with one another. The dual trade fair consisting of the international interior design show imm cologne and kitchen event LivingKitchen is one such gathering point for the sector. Next January, around 1,225 exhibitors from more than 50 countries and over 140,000 visitors are expected to fill the eleven halls of Cologne Exhibition Centre – optimal conditions for "big business". For many foreign firms, the German market and its crisis-defying stability aren't the only attraction – Germany's good trade relations with important growth markets like Russia, China, South America or the Near East also reinforce the important position of the imm cologne and LivingKitchen.
Many sectors have been shaken by crisis, entire markets all over the world have been left more or less "unexploited" for months or even years – for globally operating companies, the situation has become increasingly critical in recent years. Reliable markets like Spain, France and even the Netherlands are shrinking noticeably. At the same time, however, increasingly interesting export possibilities are emerging elsewhere – in Russia, Asia or the Near East, for instance. German furniture exports to Japan alone increased by almost 30 percent in the first eight months of 2012.
Germany also remains a comparatively "safe bet". Even in view of the slight levelling off in domestic ordering activity – not to mention a lack of orders from abroad – the Association of the German Furniture Industry (Verband der Deutschen Möbelindustrie) forecast modest but nevertheless real growth of two percent for 2012 just a few days ago. Germany's retail furniture landscape is a secure mainstay for national and foreign furniture producers alike. In addition, general conditions in Germany are good and there are good possibilities in terms of export promotion measures.
This is one of the reasons why the international furnishing show imm cologne is enjoying greater popularity than ever before. As an established and reliable platform, it attracts companies from all over the world. They are all keen to gain a foothold in the German market, both so as to benefit from the positive economic situation and make new contacts abroad that will allow them to participate in growing markets.
At the very latest since the world-leading imm cologne was joined by the international kitchen event LivingKitchen, which is held in odd-numbered years, Cologne has been the measure of all things when it comes to furniture and interior design. Koelnmesse is expecting 175 exhibitors from the kitchen furnishings, appliances and accessories sector alone, many of them market leaders from Germany and abroad. The imm cologne and LivingKitchen stand for approximately 1,225 exhibitors from more than 50 countries. The extremely wide-ranging spectrum of products they bring to Cologne is unparalleled anywhere in the world and fills 280,000 square metres of gross floor space in halls one to eleven.
The Cologne organisers are expecting an excellent response from visitors too. "We think we'll succeed in attracting over 140,000 visitors to our two trade fairs – 45,000 of them from abroad," says Frank Haubold, Vice President Trade Fair Management at Koelnmesse. "The dual trade fair has the right range of products for all spheres of interest – from self-assembly furniture all the way to the high-end segment, from classic styles all the way to the latest trends, from children's furniture and bedroom suites all the way to upholstered furniture – and of course kitchens. Packed halls and excellent conditions for doing serious business – that's what people can expect from a trade fair in Cologne."
The trade fair also owes its uniqueness to its central location in the heart of Europe, at a modern exhibition centre that is the fifth-largest in the world. The exhibition halls are just a stone’s throw from downtown Cologne. Cologne/Bonn Airport is just 20 minutes away, serves 100 domestic and foreign destinations and is one of the biggest European hubs for low-cost carriers. The ICE, which leaves from the trade fair station Deutz, connects four other international airports with Koelnmesse, thus bringing Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Brussels and Düsseldorf within easy reach of Cologne. And of course the metropolis on the banks of the Rhine is always worth a visit in its own right: when the exhibition centre closes its doors, night-time Cologne becomes a hive of activity.
In order to make the journey to Cologne as easy as possible for its foreign visitors, Koelnmesse provides a wide range of services on the imm cologne and LivingKitchen homepages, including assistance with booking train or flight tickets, reserving a hotel room or making a restaurant reservation. Visitors can even get help with travel arrangements and visa formalities.
Anyone who wants to keep bang up to date on the successful dual trade fair can follow both events via social networking platforms Facebook and xing, microblogging service twitter, photo database flickr or video-sharing website YouTube.
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