IFAT Eurasia 2021: Environmental Issues High on the Agenda Despite COVID-19

On October 23, the new edition of IFAT Eurasia—held at the Istanbul Expo Center (IFM) in Turkey ended. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the exhibitor field of 106 companies was much more compact than in 2019 (215).
IFAT Eurasia 2021: Environmental Issues High on the Agenda Despite COVID-19

IFAT Eurasia 2021: Attendance almost at pre-pandemic level. (Image source: Messe München GmbH)

However, in terms of visitors, the international environmental technology show came close to pre-coronavirus levels with 9,258 attendees (2019: 10,467).

“The coronavirus pandemic is still affecting the markets around the globe—and our social lives. But the trade fair events here on the Bosporus made clear that the existential need for resource and climate protection, reliable drinking water supplies as well as clean soils, rivers and seas remains at the top of the international agenda,” says Osman Bayazit Genç, Managing Director of the organizer MMI Eurasia, summing up his impressions of IFAT Eurasia 2021. The new edition of the environmental technology show at the interface between Europe and Asia was held at the Istanbul Expo Center (IFM) from October 21 to 23, 2021.

Attendance almost at pre-pandemic level
A total of 9,258 visitors came to the exhibition center in the Turkish metropolis. In addition to the naturally dominant host country, 1,032 visitors came from 62 other nations. “With this level of—pleasingly international—popularity we are at least close to the pre-coronavirus level,” Katharina Schlegel, Exhibition Director of the international environmental technology trade fairs within the IFAT-network is satisfied. Visitors included high-ranking representatives of Turkish municipalities and country delegations from Greece, northern Iraq and Syria. Additionally, there was a mixed delegation from Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan that came to Istanbul. Standing for 145 brands, 106 companies and institutions from six nations presented themselves. Germany, Austria, and Switzerland were represented with joint pavilions.

Exhibitors praise the quality of contacts
Even though 2021 saw slightly fewer visitors than two years ago, many exhibitors explicitly praised their expertise. For example, Oliver Gumpert of Bertsch Energy who said: “The majority of our talks with a competent audience were very high quality." The project manager continued: “Turkey is a very interesting market. IFAT Eurasia serves as a platform for us to build long-term partnerships here and we will definitely be back next time.”

For Kaan Koncagül, Assistant General Manager at Teksin Container, the Turkish specialist for large waste containers, it was already clear that they will participate in IFAT Eurasia 2023. He reported: “We are very pleased with the results of this first show after the break due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our visitor portfolio had quite an international structure, with interested parties mainly from Israel, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Belarus, Uzbekistan and Russia.”

Finally, face-to-face contacts again
Among the delegation members, Raji Maasri, General Manager at the Lebanese consulting company MORES was very impressed: “It was just great to be able to exchange ideas personally again, as well as to maintain existing contacts and generate new ones.” Similar comments were made by Ahmed Tawfik from the Egyptian company Nahdet Misr: “I was especially excited about the European technologies presented here—and the opportunities that opened up for targeted collaborations.”

For the first time: complementary digital event platform
To also bring together potential business partners who, for example, could not be on site in Istanbul due to travel restrictions, this year MMI Eurasia offered the so-called Hybrid Experience for the first time. The digital event platform was frequently used—to access company profiles, products and services, to hold B2B meetings and to network.

Supporting program on current major topics
“The quality features of IFAT trade fairs always also include a top-class supporting program,” says Exhibition Director Katharina Schlegel. “At IFAT Eurasia, we were once again able to offer professionals cutting-edge—and thus very well-attended—events." Example: the plans to combat a huge environmental problem practically “on the doorstep” of Istanbul, a city of millions, met with great interest: caused by global warming and the discharge of large quantities of insufficiently purified wastewater, algae slime blankets of unprecedented dimensions formed in the Marmara Sea this year. The Turkish government intends to counteract the impending environmental catastrophe with a comprehensive action plan, which will also offer significant impetus for environmental technology suppliers.

And the supporting program was used to examine the Green Deal from various perspectives as another possible driver for the industry. This European growth strategy aims to transform the EU into a modern, resource-efficient, and competitive economy and society.

Synergies with IREMCON
Many visitors enjoyed the valuable thematic synergies that were created by combining the date and location with the International Environmental Conference (IREMCON). The leading environmental conference in Turkey and the entire Balkan region was held adjacent to IFAT Eurasia at the WOW Conference Center, following this year’s guiding theme of “Combating global climate change and promoting international cooperation in waste management.”

Optimistic outlook for IFAT Eurasia 2023
From the organizers' point of view, this year's trade show days were a complete success considering the current pandemic situation. Namik Sarigöl, Deputy Managing Director of MMI Eurasia and responsible for IFAT Eurasia in Turkey, summarizes: “In any case, the event gave more than enough reason to look forward to the next edition—which will be held again in Istanbul in 2023—with further optimism.”

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