The leading event organisers, Iteca Caspian and Caspian Event Organisers (CEO), held twenty-two exhibitions, one conference and a forum in Azerbaijan in 2018; the events were a real success. Three events - the Azerbaijan International Franchising Forum, Caspian Franchise Forum 2018; the Azerbaijan International Gifts and Promotional Products Fair, Gift&Promo Fair; and the Azerbaijan International Advertising and Printing Exhibition, AdPrint were organised for the first time. In 2018, the Azerbaijan International Defence Exhibition, ADEX was held for the third time; this large-scale event enjoys the status of a major regional exposition of weapons and military equipment, where the force and power of Azerbaijani military and industrial complex is showcased. In addition to traditional exhibitions, the CEO Company took part in organisation of exhibition in the frame of the 1st Baku International Food Safety Conference, Eurovillage 2018, Europe Days Nakhchivan and others.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev visited AITF, WorldFood Azerbaijan, Caspian Agro, Caspian Oil and Gas, ADEX, Bakutel, and also sent letters of greetings to the participants of a number of exhibitions. Exhibitions were also attended by more than 70 ministers and other representatives of the sectoral ministries of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
2018 exhibitions welcomed 1922 participating companies from more than 48 countries and over 69 812 visitors from 64 countries; Russia, Turkey, and Belarus were first, second and third in terms of number of companies represented at the exhibitions. It was encouraging that the stands of local companies occupied almost 40% of the total exposition area. 50 national and regional stands from 29 countries formed part of the last exhibition year. Generally, guests visiting the exhibitions were mostly from Turkey, Russia, Iran, Georgia, Germany, Ukraine, the U.A.E., Belarus, Italy, China and Kazakhstan.
ll events of Iteca Caspian are actively supported by state structures, among which Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Azerbaijan, SOCAR, Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ministry of Health of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ministry of Defence Industry of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Azerbaijan Republic, Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan, State Housing Development Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, State Committee for Town Planning and Architecture of the Republic of Azerbaijan, The Union of Architects of Azerbaijan, Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan, TRACECA, Azerbaijan Stomatology Association, Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO), National Confederation of The Entrepreneurs (Employers) Organizations of Azerbaijan Republic (AEC). On the part of international structures, AITF has support from The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Pacific Asia Travel Association, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Regional Commonwealth in the field of Communications, International Telecommunication Union, Azerbaijan State Tourism Agency, Azerbaijan Tourism Board, Food Safety Agency of The Republic of Azerbaijan, Baku Transport Agency, IDEA, also a number of exhibitions have a certificate of UFI (global association of the exhibition industry).
In 2018, the Agency for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises of the Republic of Azerbaijan joined the list of exhibition supporters and, as part of the international Bakutel exhibition, the Agency and the event organisers - Iteca Caspian and CEO - entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation. According to this Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed by the Board Chairman of the Agency, Orkhan Mammadov, and the Executive Director of Iteca Caspian, Farid Mammadov, both parties undertake to facilitate the participation in international exhibitions of small and medium businesses. As part of Bakutel 2018, a first milestone for this cooperation was achieved; 10 companies took part in the stand organised by the Agency for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises of Azerbaijan. At the end of the exhibition, a lot of positive feedback was received from the stand exhibitors who were planning to develop and establish new contacts through participation in exhibitions in the future.
The role of partners and sponsors in the successful implementation of exhibition projects in 2018 is important. So, sponsors in 2018 were: SOCAR, BP, Maschio Gaspardo, NB Group, Secretariat of the Defence Industry of Turkey, Equinor, Turkiye Petrolleri, Azeri Mi Drilling, Azfen, Baku Steel Company, Bos Shelf, Caspian Drilling, Caspian Marine Services, Global Energy Azerbaijan, Socar Polymer, Tekfen, Russian Export Center, INPEX, Mcdermott, Dentons, DOW, EGS, EY, Kaspersky Lab, Lamor, Nobel Upstream, SAP CIS, Petronas, SOCAR AQS, STP, TAP, Tenaris, Total, Azercell, Kapital Bank, AA Services, Bulgaria as Country partner, Pasha Bank, Lilac, Baku Convention Center, media partners - Caspian Energy International Media Group, Dom and Interior, IHS Jane's Defence Weekly, Army Recognition. Among the partners were travel agency Premier Tour, the official hotels “Hyatt Regency” and “Qafqaz Point Hotel” and Bagcam.az, children's Playzone partner.
The 25th Anniversary of the first International Exhibition and Conference of independent Azerbaijan, Caspian Oil & Gas, was celebrated on a grand scale; it brought together 312 companies from 38 countries worldwide. The exhibition also welcomed a number of high-ranking foreign guests. President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva familiarized themselves with the Caspian Oil & Gas exhibition. A landmark event on the first day of the exhibition was the awarding of organisers on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition and Conference. The Order of Friendship (“Dostlug”) was awarded to Mr Andrew Wood and Mr Edward Strachan for his contribution to advancing the achievements of Azerbaijan and strengthening cooperation with foreign countries. At the Caspian Oil & Gas exhibition, director of Iteca Caspian, Farid Mammadov was awarded by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan with the medal “Tereggi” (“Progress”) for services in organising exhibitions in Azerbaijan.
This year’s Anniversary Caspian Oil & Gas coincided with significant date - the 95th Anniversary of the birth of the National Leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev who was the inspirer of this exhibition project. Shortly before the opening of the exhibition in honor of the jubilee of the National Leader H. Aliyev and the anniversary of the exhibition and conference of Caspian Oil & Gas, a planting ceremony of trees and flowers was held, as well as landscaping works were carried out.
The organisers have long established the tradition for the anniversary of Caspian Oil & Gas - to award prizes to the best students who have chosen the occupation of oil worker. Two students received a special award of the Caspian Oil & Gas 2018; these were Abdulla Asgarzade and Mahira Asadzade, who scored 700 points when they entered the Baku Higher Oil School (BHOS), Faculty of Industrial Automation.
All the long-standing participants of the exhibition were presented with memorable souvenirs. Hence, unique postage stamps have been issued specifically for the 25th Anniversary of the 1st Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition and Conference of independent Azerbaijan. These exhibition-devoted stamps are issued in Azerbaijan for the first time. The first type of the stamps depicts the anniversary logo of the Caspian Oil & Gas exhibition and a symbolic drilling rig, while the second type is a reproduction of the painting which depicts Baku on the Caspian Sea shore; the author of these works is Chinara Mamedova, an artist and designer who has been working at Iteca Caspian for 10 years. The President Ilham Aliyev repaid specially prepared jubilee stamps after the opening of the exhibition.
Another memorable souvenir prepared by the organisers was the perfume Caspian Gold which was made particularly for the Anniversary Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition and Conference. Designed by Azerbaijani perfumers, eau de perfume Caspian Gold is an oriental spicy fragrance for women and men. A tasteful way of the packaging design is also interesting; the original scent bottle in the shape of a drop has been placed in a package made of natural tree. Perfume designers also put in the same package a separate bottle containing several drops of Caspian’s oil. The fragrance collection Caspian Gold is released as a limited gift edition. In 2019 year Caspian Oil and Gas exhibition will be held from May 29th to June 1st, at Baku Expo Center, and the Conference will be held at Bilgah Beach Hotel (May 30-31).
The year 2018 saw an abundance of additional events prepared at the initiative of the organisers. Thus, over 240 companies took part in B2B meetings, thanks to which they were able to meet and talk with future partners not only at the stand, but also on a special platform. As part of each exhibition, specifically for the demonstration of new products and services, a presentation area was created at the exhibitions, where companies were showcasing their newly designed products to professional visitors. Each exhibition also included the product presentations and debates.
For the first time within the Bakutel exhibition, a discussion platform, Bakutel Tech Talks, was arranged to include three panels – “Our People”, “IT-emize your perspective” and “From Start-up to Business” – gathered over 850 people. The event received a lot of positive feedback, as it was able to raise issues of the industry, create a constructive dialogue between customers and developers and help start-ups in the path to implementation of their projects.
In 2018, Iteca Caspian and СЕО arranged a number of events for the exhibitors aimed at improvement of the effective participation of exhibitors. Thus, business breakfasts were held for participants of the Worldfood Azerbaijan, Caspian Agro, Caspian Oil & Gas, TransCaspian, Road & Traffic, Gift & Promo Fair, AdPrint, Bakubuild, Aquatherm Baku, Education and Bakutel exhibitions, which were joined by exhibitors and team of organisers. During these breakfasts, the main issues related to stand organisation were touched upon, and a formula for successful participation at the exhibitions was presented.
The organisers continue the CSR-project “Because We Care” within the framework of the exhibitions. For this, a special stand was organised in the lobby, where, as part of the exhibits, small business representatives and craftsmen shared their products and projects.
As far back as in the first half of the year, the exhibition organisers began to implement a number of activities under the slogan “Save Nature”, as part of their social responsibility programme. In accordance with this programme, companies present all used paper products from the office for recycling and reuse. Furthermore, all the badges at the exhibition and those of the visitors and participants have begun to be prepared from paper. On average, 5,000 people attend each exhibition. The transition to paper badges has allowed significant reduction of the use of plastic. As of next year, there is a plan to completely abandon the plastic bags at exhibitions and switch to recycled paper bags.
On the eve of the autumn season, the organisers of trade and industry exhibitions launched a new project - an electronic newspaper, which informs about all the exhibition events and innovations planned by the organisers as part of the exhibitions. The next issue of the electronic newspaper is scheduled for February 2019.
Currently, active preparations are ongoing for the new exhibition season, which will be full of interesting events. In 2019, the exhibition operators will conduct 23 projects. The year 2019 is also notable for the anniversary of four major exhibition projects; this year, WorldFood Azerbaijan, BakuBuild and Bakutel will celebrate their 25th anniversary, while the Caspian Ecology exhibition will mark its 10th anniversary. These exhibitions have achieved leading positions in the Caspian Region and have become the traditional meeting places for professionals that attract the greatest number of visitors. The Anniversary events will have a special programme which will offer the opportunity to present projects more extensively. In addition, a number of traditional exhibitions will appear in 2019 in a new, post-rebranding image. The full schedule of exhibitions, which to be held in 2019 can be found on the official websites of www.iteca.az and www.ceo.az
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