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12.09 - 14.09.2015
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Illustrious Board Member

INSTITUTIONAL 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.

Bolzano/Bozen Exhibition Center: What was the decisive reason for you having accepted the appointment to the board of directors of the Bolzano/Bozen Exhibition Center?
Reinhard Schäfers: In two months, I will turn sixty-five and retire from my position as ambassador.  Therefore, for some time now, I have been looking for a challenge for this new phase of life.  My stages in Kiev, Paris, and Rome as a bilateral ambassador also had a great deal to do with business, a field close to my heart.  For that reason, an assignment in this area seemed to me to be especially interesting.  While in Rome, politicians from Alto Adige/South Tyrol approached me and proposed membership in the board of directors of the Bolzano/Bozen Exhibition Center in order to strengthen its international dimension.  Over the past fifteen years, I have spent all of my summer vacations here, and through my contacts with many people, I have come to know and appreciate Alto Adige/South Tyrol.  

What will you be able to bring along to your work with the board of directors as a result of your many years of experience abroad and in the diplomatic service?
That is still to emerge in detail.  But with thirty-eight years of professional experience all over Europe, I bring along a certain knowledge in international matters and thus may be able to simplify and support international contacts and cooperation.  In addition, I also bring along a whole series of personal contacts with political, business, and social figures. 

As the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Italy (and previously to other countries), you have always taken on a bridging function as an intermediary between different cultures.  The Bolzano/Bozen Exhibition Center will also require this in a traditional way.  What is special about this assignment?  What can be accomplished with this role? 
Actually, a remote area, and a mountainous one on top of that, like Bolzano/Bozen has always stood out as a disadvantage.  In the case of Alto Adige/South Tyrol, though, that is not the case as a result of this North-South connection which has run through the province since time immemorial.  This geographical and geopolitical fact is no longer a peripheral one in a Europe that is growing together.  On the contrary: today, the position on borders between cultures and economies has a connecting quality.  Therefore, everything that takes place and is set into motion here can only occur within the context of Europe.  Alto Adige/South Tyrol has known how to make use of this special location and can be classified on the whole as a great success story. 

What is your opinion concerning what is particular about the Bolzano/Bozen Exhibition Center?
The Bolzano/Bozen Exhibition Center is a relatively small structure in comparison with other exhibition centers, but since it is situated on an ancient trade route, it can look back upon a great past.  As a result of this location, Bolzano/Bozen has always been somewhat special as an intermediary between cultures and mentalities.  This pivotal function which the city fulfills is also reflected in the institution of the exhibition center which, for its part, is the embodiment of communication between different major players. 

In your view, which business sectors have potential for being additional future subjects of tradeshows?
I believe that things are very well established with the tradeshow concepts that have been developed over the past years and decades which correspond to the core competencies of Alto Adige/South Tyrol.  It is now necessary to develop these further and build upon them and, as has already partially occurred, to open up new markets. 

Reinhard Schäfers (born May 27, 1950) is a German diplomat.  He has been ambassador to Italy since 2012.  He is married with two children, and in addition to German, he has also mastered English, French, Italian, and Russian.  He studied law, passing his first state bar exam in 1972 and his second in 1975.  From 1975 to 1976, he was an intern at the École nationale d’administration (ENA) in Paris, and in 1977, he entered the training program for the upper level foreign service.

His professional career began in 1979 as second secretary in the Economic Affairs Office of the German Foreign Ministry.  From 1979 to 1982, he was consul at the German embassy in Prague, at the time the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic.  From 1982 to 1985, he was deployed as permanent representative at the German embassy in Mogadishu, Somalia.  From 1985 to 1988, he was an advisor for East-West matters, disarmament, and security policy in the German Federal Chancellery.  From 1988 to 1991, Schäfers was embassy counselor at the German embassy in Moscow and responsible for German-Soviet relations and foreign and security policy.  In 1991 and 1992, he was active in the Soviet Union office of the German Foreign Ministry, and from 1992 to 1998, he was head of the Office for Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe in the German Federal Chancellery under Helmut Kohl.  Starting in 1998, he became envoy to the German embassy in Paris, and in 2000 he was appointed ambassador and permanent representative of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Western European Union.  From 2001, Schäfers was ambassador and representative of the Federal Republic of Germany in the policy and security policy committee of the EU, and from 2006 he was ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Kiev, Ukraine.  From August 2008 until 2012, he was ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Paris.

Gernot Rössler – Twenty-Five Years as President

INSTITUTIONAL 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.  

Looking back now, the first eight years of the Rössler presidency can be described as an era of building, the next eight to ten years as a time of the company attaining a new height in professionalism with the transformation into a joint stock corporation (2003), and the last third as a period of consolidation, of significant expansion of the radius of action, and of internationalization.

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. 

Important information

 We inform our exhibitors to pay attention to any commercial proposals received by Fairguide.com and Expo-guide.com.

Our green energy  

Rated Output Power
- 945.76 kWp
Energy generated
- 1499448.95 kWh
CO2 saved
- 893671.57 kg

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