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That Was EXPO REAL 2016 – A Retrospective in Pictures

Figures, statements and strange or funny things at the 19th edition of Europe’s biggest real estate fair

EXPO REAL, the most important industry gathering in Europe, has grown again this year – in the numbers of exhibitors as well as visitors.

39.101 participants from 77 countries (2015: 74) came to the 19th edition of this “International Trade Fair for Property and Investment” (a rise of around 3.3 percent on 2015, when 37,857 participants came). The total number of participants is divided into 18.963 trade visitors (2015: 18,985) and 20.138 company representatives (2015: 18,872).

The international proportion among the trade visitors rose to 29.5 percent (2015: 28 percent). The top ten countries of origin among the visitors were, after Germany: UK, Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, France, Czech Republic, USA, Luxembourg and Spain.

971 press representatives from 32 countries were accredited this year. Messe München alone deployed 158 hostesses at EXPO REAL.

EXPO REAL visually resembled an oasis at times this year. Claudia Boymanns, EXPO REAL Exhibition Director: „Never before, there have been so many stand designs featuring wood and greenery–not to mention the ‘hanging gardens’ on the stands.”

Brexit and the uncertainty it is creating was topic number one in discussions at EXPO REAL 2016.

Picture: © donfiore/

“Europe has to stick together, because either you swim together or you are going to sink together,” said US star economist Nouriel Roubini in passing at the trade fair.

“Holding this referendum in the first place was a complete failure of the political class, both in the UK and in Europe. The uncertainty around what Brexit actually means is going to continue,” declared Brexit opponent Sir Howard Bernstein, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council.

Brexiteer Dr. Gerard Patrick Lyons, former chief economist at the bank Standard Chartered and an advisor to Boris Johnson, holds a different view: “Brexit is a fantastic opportunity for the UK and the economy will do very well in the long run.”

Prof. Dr. Max Otte from the IFVE Institut für Vermögensentwicklung in Cologne, however, sees Brexit as an “enormous opportunity” for Europe: “[The Brits] have been cherry-picking for 30 years. Now perhaps that is over. And that would be good for Europe.”

There were also intensive discussion about affordable housing, not only, but also in connection with migration.
Florian Pronold (left, with EXPO REAL CEO Klaus Dittrich, right), Parliamentary State Secretary in Germany´s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, appealed for concepts for affordable housing: “One of the great challenges of the future is to create more affordable housing, with state support and also with private investment.”

The „Grand Plaza“, a meeting place for retail property, celebrated a successful premiere: “The Grand Plaza attracted very many visitors, and on all three days of the fair there was a lively exchange here between the retail trade and its partners,” Claudia Boymanns, Exhibition Director of EXPO REAL, said expressing her satisfaction after the trade fair.

Christian Kossmala, Managing Director of Immobilien International at Lidl, Germany, is also full of praise: “ The response to the new EXPO REAL trade concept Grand Plaza was excellent, and it has created good synergies.” His company has returned to EXPO REAL after a break of a few years “to show new concepts from Lidl and to present ourselves as good partners for the cities.”

The Hospitality segment was represented at the trade fair as well as in the conference program. Simone Kittinger from "Harry's Home" in Austria expressed her satisfaction with EXPO REAL 2016: “The hotel property market is going through a very dynamic period. EXPO REAL is the most important trade fair for the hotel sector; the quality of the participants and the exhibitors is very high.”

EXPO REAL is becoming increasingly international as well as becoming increasingly attractive for participants from abroad. The Netherlands again sent its Construction Minister Stef Blok to the trade fair. He described his motivation before the trade fair as follows: “This is my fourth year at EXPO REAL, because German investors are the biggest investors in the Dutch housing market. We are very happy to have long-standing relations with German investors and we are looking forward to getting to know more of them—and for that EXPO REAL is the best place.”

Switzerland was represented by Swiss Circle AG, among others, at EXPO REAL. CEO Dr. Roman Bolliger 2016 summarized his trade fair experience as follows: “To sum up: Judging by all the activity at the Swiss Circle Stand and the smiles on the faces of our visitors, this year´s presentation at EXPO REAL was a success.”

Roberto Luongo from the Italian Trade Agency came to the trade fair from Italy. “According to our strategy, EXPO REAL is one of the pillars of ITA’s FDI attraction programme. It is a very interesting and concrete platform, with a focus on strategic sectors such as hospitality, logistics and retail.”

Many participants again came to Munich from Eastern Europe. Igor Tkach, leader of the Moscow delegation and Deputy Head of the Moscow Government Department for External Economic and International Relations from Russia, stated: “Moscow has a tradition of participating in the EXPO REAL trade fair. This year, we will be telling them about what is new on the Russian capital's construction sites, and how Moscow is preparing for the 2018 Football World Cup. But we ourselves will also be picking up ideas from builders, developers, and everyone who has come to Munich with their most interesting projects.”

Robert Heffner, Adviser to the President of the Hungarian investment promotion agency (HIPA), came from Hungary to EXPO REAL. “We wanted the stand to be a bustling, exciting place, where the relevant investors notice the already booming city of Budapest. This expectation was fulfilled. EXPO REAL is a very important forum for us.”

From Poland,Nicklas Lindberg, CEO of ECHO Investment, celebrated a premiere at EXPO REAL. “We came to EXPO REAL for the first time as a exhibitor and it is a great success for us. We could present our new strategy and show projects to an international audience. EXPO REAL is a great place for networking.”

All participants were able to benefit from the new EXPO REAL app this year. Three new features make the app better than ever: Thanks to the interface to MatchUp!, users got suggestions for relevant discussion partners. The Discover screen showed selected events. The routing function served as a "navigation system" through the exhibition halls.

In addition, there was another premiere to celebrate at the 19th EXPO REAL: For the first time, selected panel discussions from the EXPO REAL FORUM and from the SPECIAL REAL ESTATE FORUM were broadcast live on YouTube. Selected takes are available here on our blog.

Digitalization was not only a topic in the conference program, but was a top priority of the organizers: All existing social media channels as well as this blog were used for live coverage. There was live tweeting from many panels, and two forums were streamed live completely. #EXPOREAL was in second place on Twitter among the hot topics in Germany on the first day of the trade fair (behind Jan Böhmermann!).

Last but not least, the remaining articles at the Lost and Found Office after the end of the trade fair: in addition to jewelry, cash, scarves, umbrellas, six eyeglasses and eight credit cards, a pair of virtual reality glasses was also left behind at EXPO REAL 2016. One more reason to come back next year!

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