Illustrious Board MemberINSTITUTIONAL NEWS
Reinhard Schäfers, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Italy, was elected as a member of the board of directors of the Bolzano/Bozen Exhibition Center on April 28. That is unprecedented in the history of the Bolzano/Bozen Exhibition Center and may in fact represent a unique case worldwide. Schäfers, who recently participated in the first meeting of the board of directors, made himself available for questions. Bolzano/Bozen Exhibition Center: What was the decisive reason ... More
Illustrious Board Member
Reinhard Schäfers, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Italy, was elected as a member of the board of directors of the Bolzano/Bozen Exhibition Center on April 28. That is unprecedented in the history of the Bolzano/Bozen Exhibition Center and may in fact represent a unique case worldwide. Schäfers, who recently participated in the first meeting of the board of directors, made himself available for questions.
Gernot Rössler – Twenty-Five Years as PresidentINSTITUTIONAL NEWS
After nearly twenty-five years at the helm of Fiera Bolzano S.p.A./Messe Bozen AG, attorney Gernot Rössler will be bidding farewell as president today at the shareholders’ meeting. During the period under his leadership, the Bolzano Bozen Exhibition Center has developed from a tradeshow corporation on the verge of crisis to an organizer of professional tradeshows and conferences that is respected throughout Italy and far beyond, an important meeting point, a generator of impetus, and the ... More
Gernot Rössler – Twenty-Five Years as President
After nearly twenty-five years at the helm of Fiera Bolzano S.p.A./Messe Bozen AG, attorney Gernot Rössler will be bidding farewell as president today at the shareholders’ meeting. During the period under his leadership, the Bolzano Bozen Exhibition Center has developed from a tradeshow corporation on the verge of crisis to an organizer of professional tradeshows and conferences that is respected throughout Italy and far beyond, an important meeting point, a generator of impetus, and the contact for South Tyrol business as well as an ambassador for the province. A brief summary of the extremely successful past quarter century of the Bolzano Bozen Exhibition Center under the aegis of Rössler is provided below.
The appointment of Bolzano attorney Gernot Rössler as the head of the autonomous corporation of the Bolzano/Bozen Exhibition Center in July 1990 occurred at a time which was characterized by a discussion concerning a solution to the space problems of the Exhibition Center which had gone on for a good ten years without success and which seemed to be continuing.
Because of the coexistence of the Exhibition Center, the trade school along with workshops in Pavilion 3, and the skating rink in Pavilion 1 in the midst of a district of the city that was densely constructed without a single parking place, the situation in via Roma was more than overstretched. On top of that, the pavilions and the technology were nearly forty years old and consequently no longer acceptable for putting on modern tradeshows.
The new president got serious very quickly. Under his leadership, that which had been discussed futilely for many years was now accomplished by the Exhibition Center in just a few years. Just half a year after his appointment, a concept competition for the design of the new Exhibition Center was opened up and the work began for the new Multipurpose Hall/Ice Palace at Bolzano Sud. For this hall, the so-called “Palaonda/Eiswelle”, It took only seven (!) months from the decision to the start of construction and then another eighteen months until the handover with the first hockey game. Because the city had not prepared itself, the Exhibition Center also took over the direction of the new hall. Out of a planned stopgap measure, the hall was finally sold to the city twelve years later.
One year after the appointment of Rössler, there were the first plans for the new Exhibition Center and the project engineers had also been determined. By late 1995, and thus five years later, the cornerstone for the new Bolzano/Bozen Exhibition Center was laid, and two years and four months later, the first tradeshow took place on the new premises: Hotel ‘95.
All construction was completed within the framework of the cost estimates, and there were no cost increases whatsoever. In addition, there was also not one single legal dispute.
After 1998 and the conclusion of the various building projects, the focus shifted to expanding the tradeshow programs that were to be held within the areas of economic competence of South Tyrol. Correspondingly, the following events were gradually established: Alpitec (mountain and winter technologies), Interpoma (cultivation, storage, and marketing of apples), Prowinter (service and rentals in winter sports), Viatec (Alpine transportation infrastructure), Klimahouse (energy-efficient construction and renovation) and their editions in other cities and countries, Klimaenergy/Klimamobility (renewable energy and sustainable mobility), Biolife (regional organic products), and Civil Protect (civil defense).
The existing tradeshows such as Hotel, Agrialp, or Freizeit were massively transformed and reoriented to a transregional basis. Today, the program includes around twenty tradeshows. In the meantime, the Bolzano Bozen Exhibition Center has become renowned throughout Italy and is an esteemed venue for tradeshows, with Alpitec even having taken the big step to China.
And the Exhibition Center in South Tyrol has also established itself internationally – with Interpoma, for instance, as an event known throughout the world, drawing exhibitors and visitors from every continent. And then also within the framework of the Central European tradeshow organizations CEFA (Central European Fair Alliance), MA (Messen Austria), IDFA (Germany), and Messen Schweiz in Switzerland, for example by having been named twice to host the Internationales Messeseminar [the International Tradeshow Seminar] (in 1999 and 2011) or the international summer seminar of UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, in the summer of 2001.
Diametrically opposed to internationalization – of course with good reason – was the commitment in the Val Pusteria-Pustertal valley when, in the summer of 2009, it took over the private Tipworld GmbH which was on the brink of bankruptcy. And after just two editions, it was subsequently possible to break even and, in the following years, to even turn a profit.
Since there were good times after moving, it was possible to make investments after just a few years in which above all else improvement work was necessary on the premises. Examples of these investments included several photovoltaic systems with a total output of nearly 1,000 MWp and clean electricity of more than 1,200 megawatt-hours per year, as well as new flooring, new restrooms, new paint, etc. Over the past years, the Exhibition Center has invested around nine million euros of its own funds. A similar amount is to be devoted in the next five years according to the investment plan that was recently approved. You lag, you lose – but not the Bolzano/Bozen Exhibition Center.
And the most recent great challenge which has been imposed by the international economic and financial crisis especially upon Italian exhibition centers has been masterfully managed at the address Piazza Fiera/Messplatz 1 under the administration of President Rössler. In all seven crisis years (from 2008 to 2014), the Exhibition Center remained in the black, and sometimes even with noteworthy profits: with €620,000 in 2012, €340,000 in 2013, and nearly one million euros in 2014! During the period of Gernot Rössler’s presidency, the revenues of the Bolzano Bozen Exhibition Center have increased by nearly tenfold.
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