Organizing Textile Machinery Events for many years for the textile sector, Ümit Vural provided some information on the TME 2021 as their new project. Ümit Vural, while maintaining his position as the chairman of the board of Birleşik Fuar Yapım A.Ş., which was established as a consortium with the merge of numerable fair companies, continuing his role at the International Fair Producers Association as the Vice President.
We interviewed with Ümit Vural, ECR Fuarcılık General Manger on the topics coming to the agenda about the Istanbul International Textile Machinery Fair TME taking place around September 2021.
Challenging Covid-19 has resulted in cancellation of fairs. What is your opinion on this reality? Do you think it would be an appropriate decision to run fairs under this growing uncertainty?
Covid-19 pandemic that emerged in Wuhan, the third quarter of 2019, then spread into world regions. To highlight, there were many casualties in 2020 and many fairs were either canceled or postponed in an environment of uncertainty. As known, with the discovery and application of vaccines for the treatment of Covid 19, negative effects are decreasing day by day. To recall, Biontech Chairman of the Board has made a statement couple of months ago who found the first vaccine. In this statement, it was said that the life would return to normal in between end of May and mid of June globally. Similarly, the number of covid 19 cases recorded in England, at around 60 thousand at the beginning of January, fallen dramatically to 3 thousand last week after the available vaccinations. Again, the number of cases in America, 300 thousand in January 2021, has decreased tremendously to 60 thousand’s. It is possible to enrich examples as well. There is a positive correlation between the vaccination and affected cases. Reports indicate that 18 million were given vaccinations in Turkey and 100 million vaccination doses are planned until the end of May. Within given figures and data, the founder of Biontech Prof. Dr. Uğur Şahin’s anticipation about the termination of covid-19 cases in between the end of May and mid of June are now in a close review.
As known, Itma Asia fair will take place within June in China where pandemic emerged. The fair will have an international concept that taking place at the heart of pandemic and no one will probably have concerns about getting infected. However, pandemic will dominate while fairs taking place in Istanbul around September. This statement is not a reality. Even Chinese Officials already set compulsory 15 days quarantine period to every visa classes entering into China as part of their policy. Would it be safe to implement police-controlled quarantine in a hotel (or a place similar to it) enforced by them and held a fair in such an environment?
During TME 2021, all safety and health measures regarding Covid 19 will be taken, details regarding this affair are broadcasted on our fair website. In addition, the halls of the IFM fair center were renewed, and the IFM management channeled significant amount of capital for air conditioning and for air intake systems and for filtration applications. While the exhibition area stand drawings and planning were being made, our preparations were completed by taking into account many anti-epidemic measures.
On the other hand, trade continues at full speed. Export of Turkey in textiles and raw material has risen by %40 per cent and further breaking records. The current capacities of textile factories are insufficient but new investments and machine modernization continue uninterruptedly. Order delivery times of domestic and foreign machinery manufacturers have been extended by 6 to 9 months. When we look at the Textile Machinery import figures published last month, textile machinery imports have risen by %45 per cent and textile machinery imports increased to 1.5 billion dollar in 2020. To strengthen figures, when we examine the annual reports published by Cematex member’s machinery associations, it was shown that Turkey ranked as the first two under the important market classifications. Another advantage for TME fair taking place in Turkey is that we do not set any significant visa rules compared to Schengen countries. We do not also suffer from any travel restriction true for countries affected by the pandemic although England was encountered with short lived restrictions. Further, a traveler who has negative covid-19 test result can enter to our country safely. As an example, delegations from many countries where textile is on shore, textile investors from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, India and Egypt have already confirmed their visits. Moreover, hotel reservations are already started.
What is your expectation on participation figures? In your opinion, would it be accessible for foreign exhibitors?
We live in a global world. Word spread at a constant speed. When we discuss about companies opened a major office and branch in Turkey who are operating closer to market to employ personnel, why would not they exhibit at the fair? I believe that all companies who want to introduce their innovations to the market and display their machinery will participate. There are foreign machine manufacturers who make a request through their agencies or make direct reservations.
What were the compelling reasons to organize a fair in Istanbul? It is a region where already fairs taking place within a year so what is your main argument here amongst competitors?
Istanbul and IFM Fair Center are the perfect locations for an international fair organization. There are lots of accommodation and gastronomy options. It attracts attention with its’ wide historical and cultural background as the capital of various civilizations. On the other hand, Istanbul is a city of commerce for Turks and for the neighboring regions. It is an important hub for local and international transport. Istanbul has shown its distinction with three major airports as such İstanbul, Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen and with its largest metro infrastructure in Turkey. Also, IFM Fair Ground is an indispensable location for organizing fairs with its 250.000m2 closed fair area located next to the metro station and Atatürk airport.
TME 2021 International textile machinery fair, unlike the fairs organized so far, has a platform that gives room to all segments of the textile industry. As textile machinery and accessories manufacturers participate in TME 2021, we will have the opportunity to host all components of the sector, from yarn and fabric manufacturers to ready-to-wear manufacturers, at the fair for during four days with the Yarn and Fabric fairs to be held in the next halls. In summary, we will achieve an organization that brings every member of the textile world together.
Can you talk about any other projects in Istanbul other than that? What is your overall aim while reaching a point to run TME 2021?
As you know, IFM exhibition center was previously operated by a private company. The private company was trying to keep the fair organization under control by concerning its own profitability and its own interest, and further taking actions to set barriers against fair competition available for all. As of the end of 2019, the halls under the management of the private company were bought by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce. This decision was welcomed in the fair industry. By establishing a consortium of 7 companies that have been organizing fairs for different sectors for many years, we decided to act jointly and bring a new breath of excitement to the sector. With this partnership structure, we established BİFAŞ A.Ş (Birleşik Fuar Yapım Anonim Şirketi). This consortium, which will undertake very large projects, is carrying out important studies to turn Istanbul into an exhibition center. On behalf of the fair industry, I would like to thank IFM management, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and Istanbul Chamber of Commerce for their support to make Istanbul an exhibition center. As the chairman of the board of directors of BIFAŞ A.Ş., I also work with our entire board of directors for the realization of many projects we have. ECR Fuarcılık Ltd.Şti is among the partners of this consortium. We have been together working many years to the realization of such fairs for the textile industry. I have alone a 25-year past in the industry. Also, I have been the organizer of many textile machinery fairs. Fairs taking place from Denizli to Bursa, from Kahramanmaraş to Istanbul. The center of the fair is undoubtedly Istanbul, as it has many conveniences and advantages for both exhibitors and visitors. With the TME fair, we aim to gather the world textile industry together for 4 days.
What would you say about time pressure for this fair organization?
If you are making claims because of our fair schedule set from April, would give credit to you, but fair organization entails expertise and preparation. We have experience in the textile industry and we have been continuing our preparations for the fair since the beginning of 2019. We consulted with many institutions which of whom shown their willingness to participate and already contacted us for pre-registration. Our meetings with textile delegations from many countries also have returned positive feedback. Our entire team and infrastructure is ready. It will be a very successful organization both for the visitor and for the participant.
My foresight about the Istanbul International Textile Machinery Fair TME 2021 is that it will be a fair in which both the participant and the visitor will satisfy.