The United States’ participation as honored country in the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) this year fits neatly with the trade fair’s strategic plans to become a major economic center in southeastern Europe, a press conference by organiser Helexpo’s president Anastassios Tzikas concluded in Athens on Tuesday.
Ahead of the fair (September 8 to 16), Tzikas outlined TIF’s strategic development plans, which he said reflected Greece’s development plans. He said the fair strategy was focused on a policy of extroversion, on establishing new sector fairs and theme parks, and on a new trade fair center in the center of Thessaloniki that is viable and “green”. The master plan for the latter will be ready by the end of the year, he said.
He noted that relative to the American presence in this year’s fair, TIF had initiated a partnership with Fancy Food Shows, North America’s largest specialty food fairs, to promote Greek products in the American market. Other plans include a large American trade fair in the first half of 2020 in Thessaloniki, and an agreement of TIF with the Mobile World Congress to help with a similar trade fair in the northern city, possibly in 2019.
US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt said the embassy was working with the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) to turn the 83rd TIF into a landmark event in Greek-US relations. Their partnership focused on bringing a large number of businesses to the fair, on presenting the best American technology and innovation products, and on letting the markets know “Greece is back”.
Greece offers real opportunities for American and foreign investments, human potential is fantastic, and there is strong political commitment by the US government and President Donald Trump to support the process, he noted.
The US want to highlight Thessaloniki’s role as an entryway into the West Balkans and Southeast Europe, he added, noting that he has made a record-setting eight visits to northern Greece so far and will travel north another two times before the fair opens.
AmCham president Simos Anastopoulos, speaking at the press conference, said that the fair would be attended by an extensive representation of American chambers of commerce from neighboring countries of Greece, while TIF Helexpo CEO Kyriakos Pozrikidis said nearly 1,400 exhibitors had registered for the trade fair, while attendance was expected to reach 290,000. The US (USATIF 2018) will be represented at pavilion 13, which will cover 6,000 square meters, he said, expressing the hope that the collaboration of America with the TIF would become permanent.