Frankfurt is considered to be one of the most important financial locations in the world and is a central transport hub for Germany and Europe. This status quo has its origins in Frankfurt’s tradition as a commercial and trade fair centre. The flow of money and goods in the Middle Ages formed the basis for Frankfurt as a financial centre and a transport hub. As early as 1240 AD, when Frederick II rescued the trade fairs of the Free Imperial City of Frankfurt by privilege, the first events benefited – on Frankfurt’s Römerberg – from the central location of this commercial centre. Frankfurt is one of the world’s oldest trade fair centres and even today, our exhibitors and visitors from all over the world still appreciate the geostrategic USP. In the wake of globalization the position for us as a trade fair company has even gained in importance because this is where the easy-to-reach meeting-place for businesspeople from the economic powerhouses of Asia and North America is situated. Some 72 per cent of our exhibitors come from abroad, as do some 47 per cent of our visitors – no other German trade fair location even remotely reaches these figures. This typifies the company and, at the same time, characterizes Frankfurt’s image as a sophisticated, internationally oriented metropolis. The Messe Frankfurt is a motor for business promotion both within the borders of the Rhine-Main region and beyond. It guarantees socio-economic effects worth billions, makes profits, pays taxes and creates and safeguards jobs. Up to two million trade fair visitors come to Frankfurt each year.
There is hardly any other city like Frankfurt in which the development of trade fairs has been historically inextricably linked so much with the development of the city itself. Today the city and the trade fair constitute a symbiotic partnership. The best example are the long-term master plans for positioning Frankfurt as a commercial, cultural and trade fair centre. In the development of the new Europa Quarter, the trade fair centre also plays a crucial and integrative role in the master plan of town planner and architect Prof. Albert Speer. Today the land where Frankfurt’s former goods railway station and shunting yards used to be is one of the most significant inner-city development areas in Germany.
When the goods station and the neighbouring shunting yards were released for development in 2000, the opportunity of a century offered itself to the Frankfurt Trade Fair. This vacant area of land in a very desirable area of Frankfurt has been improved considerably from the point of view of infrastructure. In cooperation with the City of Frankfurt, the plans for the extension of the trade fair centre have been accelerated.
Together with the firm Albert Speer & Partner, the Frankfurt Trade Fair started in 2000 to prepare a master plan of the future design of the grounds of the trade fair centre. Hall 3 was completed in 2001, the Forum in 2001, the Dependance in 2005, the Cargo Center in 2007 and Hall 11 and the Portalhouse Entrance (formerly the West Entrance) in 2009. From a town planning point of view, the last two projects in particular on the grounds of the Frankfurt trade fair were an initiative project for the overall development of the adjoining Europa Quarter.
As deeply as the Frankfurt Trade Fair is rooted to its hometown, it plays an equally aggressive role in the worldwide “champions’ league” in the top few positions. The “made by the Frankfurt Trade Fair” events are backed up by a network with 28 subsidiaries, five branches and 52 international marketing partners, which are responsible for trade fairs in 150 countries. More than half of our 90 trade fairs are now held abroad, where we earn about a quarter of the group’s recent earnings around 450 million euros. Since 1987 we have exported our solid trade fair brands to the world, thereby generating growth. These overseas events also interact to bring new exhibitors to our trade fairs in Frankfurt. In doing so, the group pursues a strategy that offers medium-sized companies in particular a global marketing instrument with the same high standards in the growing regional markets around the world. The core of our international success is the leading trade fairs in Frankfurt linked with a consistent marketing strategy. Automechanika and Heimtextil, Musikmesse, ISH and Ambiente – brand names such as these are top international events in their respective sectors.
We also regard ourselves as a global player with a continuing responsibility as a corporate citizen and want to help make Frankfurt’s future as a place to do business a successful one. We also do this by following the study by Albert Speer & Partner entitled “Frankfurt for Everybody – Prospects for Action for the Free International City of Frankfurt am Main”.
As in the past, our company will actively support the reinforcing of Frankfurt’s role as a free, open and active city, as the location of an internationally significant business, science and creative hub and as a city with a high level of environmental efficiency and a tradition of culture and education. We see many parallels in the core issues concerning commercial, scientific and ecological sustainability. These include reinforcing economic power through the use of our leading trade fairs. As a marketplace for technology, consumer goods and textiles, these issues enjoy the highest level of international familiarity. This, in turn, promotes the international orientation of the city’s population.
A further example is the development focus on environmental efficiency. The Frankfurt Trade Fair fulfils its ecological responsibility not only as a trade fair operator but also by organizing trade fairs with ecological themes in Germany and abroad. We also feel a responsibility towards the development focus on education and science. In supporting the Frankfurt Trade Fair
Endowed Professorship of International Economic Policy, we not only support the tradition of Frankfurt companies which have supported the Goethe University since its foundation, we also build a bridge between academic research and the everyday work of the international trade fair sector.