DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY (Oct. 24, 3:30 p.m. EDT) — The world's largest plastics industry fair opened today with organizer Messe Dusseldorf confidently expecting the number of visitors again to exceed 200,000, excluding 30,000 exhibiting staff, based on the 231,000 who visited K 2004.
In a briefing the week before K began, Messe Dusseldorf Chairman Werner Dornscheidt based his optimism on the increase in the number of exhibitors from 2,904 to 3,130 and the corresponding increase in exhibition space of almost 92,000 square feet. With the availability of a new hall with additional stands and meeting rooms, at an investment of 51 million euros, total space has reached 1.82 million square feet.
“Including the new hall … all available space has been taken up,” Dornscheidt said.
The number of exhibitors has increased for all main sectors represented, most of all for raw materials, up 16 percent to 611; followed by machinery, up 6.8 percent to 1,897; and processing up 5 percent to 463. The number of exhibitors in services has dropped marginally by 1.2 percent, to 159.
Since the first K fair in 1952, the event has become increasingly more international. The number of foreign exhibitors, 1,992, and exhibition space used, 1.03 million square feet, at K 2007 both exceed respectively the figures of 1,138 and 790,727 square feet for exhibitors from Germany. Among countries providing foreign exhibitors, Italy leads with 464 exhibitors, followed by China at 154, the U.S. at 144, Taiwan at 132, the United Kingdom at 114, France at 106 and Switzerland at 103.
China that has shown the biggest growth in exhibitor numbers, up from just 41 at K 2004, the importance of the country being indicated at a Bayer MaterialScience AG news briefing at the fair, with presentations made in English and translated only into Chinese.
Dornscheidt pointed out some of the infrastructure issues involved with K 2007, with 28 hotel ships moored along the Rhine in up to two rows occupying all of the available mooring points and with visitors having had to book hotel rooms more than 60 miles away from the fair. Yet, there is a guarantee by the city of Dusseldorf, Dornscheidt said, that it will find a same-day room for anyone who asks for it. Hotels in Germany traditionally mark up hotel rates during trade fairs, but Dornscheidt said negotiations with hotels have kept the mark-ups at a more moderate level for K 2007 than was the case for K 2004.