Wolfgang Marzin – Messe Frankfurt: The region’s economic engine

The world has been coming together in Frankfurt for around 800 years. Even in Luther’s time, the city had more trade fair visitors than residents, bringing Frank­­furt’s citizens and businesspeople the wealth this entailed. This hasn’t changed to this day. Constant inspiration and in­­novation have allowed our company to create successful trading centres through­­out the centuries. As one of the world’s largest and most profitable trade fair com­­panies and a global player with over 100 trade fairs around the world, Messe Frankfurt has strong roots in its home town and is a driving force behind economic promotion well beyond the borders of the Rhine-­Main region.

Frankfurt is one of the oldest trade fair cities in the world, and our exhibitors and visitors from across the globe appreciate above all its central location in the heart of Europe and the outstanding infrastruc­­ture of the Frankfurt and Rhine-Main me­­tro­­politan region. Over 40,000 exhibitors and up to over two million visitors come to trade fairs, congresses and other events at the exhibition grounds every year. Over 70 per cent of the companies exhibiting and around half of the visitors at events run by Messe Frankfurt itself come from abroad. Those are top figures in an inter­­national context. Leading trade fairs in Frankfurt are premium platforms. They are engines of innovation, trend baro­­meters and intercultural meeting points for the international technology and design scene, making Frankfurt and its trade fair com­­pany one of the world’s most important stages for everything that’s new in the world. ISH, Light + Building, Auto­mech­­anika and Heimtextil, Musikmesse and Ambiente are some of the world-famous brands among our own events. As well as our events, Frankfurt also plays host to internationally renowned guest events such as the International Motor Show IAA-­­Pkw, the Book Fair, Achema and Imex. Both as a company and as the Messe Frank­­furt brand, the standard we set ourselves is to develop new trade fairs and con­­gres­­­­ses on innovative topics for Frank­­furt. That is why guest events from new sectors, such as photovoltaics, actively cho­ose Frankfurt as the location for their trade fair. We also see tremendous potential for growth in the conference segment. To supplement the Congress Center on the trade fair site, we will be opening another congress centre, Kap Europa, in the neighbouring Europaviertel district in summer 2014. Not least, the image of the events, as well as their visitors and exhibitors, will also benefit the entire Frankfurt Rhine-Main region.


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Getting people excited, creating trade fairs as events, driving the successes of tomorrow – every event and every one of our services is in pursuit of the central goal of securing our customers’ trust in Messe Frankfurt. We create added value together with our customers, and our com­­pany also makes a significant contribution to the economy as a whole. Messe Frankfurt generates profits, pays dividends to its shareholders, pays taxes and secures jobs. It all comes down to the ‘socio-eco­­­­nomic effect’. Events at Frankfurt’s trade fair ground generate work for the entire region. Hoteliers, restaurateurs, craft enter­­prises and retail stores all earn money from visitors to the trade fair. In addition, the federal government, states and local communities also benefit indirectly from the events through tax income.


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Events at the Frankfurt trade fair ground pump 3.1 billion euros into Germany’s eco­­nomy, according to a study conducted by the independent ifo institute in 2012. Frankfurt itself gains 1.6 billion euros di­­rec­­tly, the region 0.6 billion euros and the remaining states 0.9 billion euros. No other trade fair location achieves such im­­pressive economic effects. Messe Frank­­furt is therefore a stabilising factor, es­­­pecially in uncertain economic times. The average visitor spends around 450 euros on accommodation, retail shopping and travel costs to and from Frankfurt. Whether it’s taxi drivers, gentlemen’s outfitters or haulage companies, events at Messe Frank­­furt are not just export platforms for the entire world, but also help large numbers of companies in the region to achieve stable sales. The spending per exhibitor is also impressive, amounting to EUR 38,700 in an average year.


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Messe Frankfurt also guarantees jobs. Mathematically speaking, each one of our staff secures around 20 jobs. Through­­­out Germany, the money spent by visitors and exhibitors at Frankfurt’s trade fair ground maintain 32,500 jobs, 18,700 of them in Frankfurt. It is those in the hotel and restaurant sector who benefit most from the events. 1.75 million overnight stays are booked in our city every year as the result of trade fairs. This is good news for the tax office too, which collects 567 billion euros in additional taxes. Over 29 million euros of this is in Frankfurt, and over 159 million euros in the state of Hesen.


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Jobs, purchasing power and taxes: The eco­­nomic effects of events in Frankfurt have continued to increase over the past ten years in terms of these three indicators of detour profitability. Purchasing power has increased by 19 per cent. One of the reasons for this is growth in the number of international visitors and exhibitors. They stay in Frankfurt longer and thus spend more money. Messe Frankfurt has always been, and will remain, an economic draw for the city and the region. On the one hand committed to its home location, on the other the corporation plays an im­­por­­tant role as one of the largest trade fair companies worldwide, with 28 subsidiaries and over 50 international sales part­­ners. Over half of our trade fairs now take place abroad, strengthening the Messe Frankfurt brand internationally and at­­trac­­­­ting even more new exhibitors and visitors to the city on the Main.

Messe_Frankfurt_Wolfgang_Marzin_2012-KopieThe author has been CEO of Messe Frank­­furt since 1st April 2010. Before this, Wolfgang Marzin held various positions including CEO of Leipziger Messe (2004 to 2009) and of the GHM (2001 to 2004). Alongside other roles, the trained logistics manager and graduate business eco­­­nomist is also a member of the supervisory board of FrankfurtRheinMain GmbH.