'It is clear that some part will remain for exhibitions': Kazan Expo reduces the area

Kazan Expo exhibition complex may reduce its area by another 18,000 square metres — to 21,000 square metres

'It is clear that some part will remain for exhibitions': Kazan Expo reduces the area
Photo: tatarstan.ru

The largest exhibition centre Kazan Expo, built three years ago for the WorldSkills International Championship, is preparing to reduce the area to the optimal size — 20-21 thousand square metres. Due to the pandemic, Kazan Expo was idle for almost a year. The Investment Development Agency is trying to persuade international and Russian operators to move the annual exhibitions to Kazan, but most likely plan B will work. “There is an idea to transfer (part of the area) to the university, we are working on it so far," said Talia Minullina, the head of the Investment Developemnt Agency. Tatarstan is preparing to transfer about 18,000 square metres to the Kazan Federal University for the creation of a medical engineering centre in the continuation of the Pharmedcluster, the press service of the Kazan Federal University confirmed.

Kazan Expo is still in a busy schedule

Speaking at a briefing in the Government House on the topic of the upcoming business season on 6 April, the head of the Investment Development Agency, Talia Minullina, announced the programme of exhibition events. Almost 90% of them this year will be held on the territory of the Kazan Expo exhibition complex.

The nearest ones are the Tatarstan International Forum on Energy Efficiency and Ecology, the Energy and Resource Conservation exhibition (April 21-23), then the International Special Transport Salon SpecTransExpo 2021. The 12th International Economic Summit 'Russia — Islamic World: KazanSummit 2021' promises to be the largest and most ambitious event this year, the head of the Investment Developemnt Agency said. Due to the pandemic, the summit was first postponed and then cancelled.

Energy and Resource Conservation exhibition is held from April 21 to 23. Photo: Rinat Nazmetdinov

According to Talia Minullina, this time it will be held in a hybrid format, combining online and offline modes, taking into account the requirements of Rospotrebnadzor. Dates: July 28-29. By the way, a large Islamic fashion show will be held within the framework of it, and famous Russian fashion designer Valentin Yudashkin is announced among the guests of the festival. Most likely, they rely on that his modelling works in a new role will arouse great public interest. In short, the schedule of events at the Kazan Expo site is quite tense, whereas last year the centre was almost standing idle because of the ban on holding mass events, Talia Minullina summed up.

“There is a struggle for events going”

But a significant part of the exhibition events has so far been held with budget support, while now the Investment Developemnt Agency is refocusing on attracting sponsorship packages through the convention bureau it created. According to Talia Minullina, in the near future, the strategy of the work of its own convention bureau will be adopted, which is already submitting applications to attract international events. Tatarstan is a member of the National Convention Bureau and the International Association of Congresses and Conferences (ICCA), which attract rotating events. Four applications have already been approved (for example, the international linguistic forum will be held in Kazan), and 12 more applications are planned.

“We try to attract events in those areas where Tatarstan has strong competencies," Minullina explained. To illustrate, she presented the rating of event potential of the regions (without Moscow), where Tatarstan was the third after St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg. For business events, the territory of the Kazan Expo exhibition complex, as practice has shown, turned out to be redundant.

Now the Investment Developemnt Agency is refocusing on attracting sponsorship packages through the convention bureau it created, Minullina reported. Photo: tatarstan.ru

“With its commissioning in the Volga Federal District, the congress and exhibition areas have increased 2 times. There is a struggle for events during this period — at first they did not take place at all. It is clear that the object was almost idle. In February, the first large exhibition was held. A rich work schedule has been formed this year," the head of the agency said, adding that the object has to be subsidised.

How to load “half-reduced” Kazan Expo

“It is clear that this object is subsidised today. Now we are making efforts to position it," Minullina explained. According to her, the task now is to integrate Kazan Expo into the general system of world expocentres. “We need to make sure that the existing world expocentres, such as Messe Frankfurt, exchange events with us. To consider Kazan Expo as a partner platform and 'bring' events to it," Talia Minullina outlined her vision.

Roscongress is considered as another partner. Last week, a delegation from Roscongress visited the entire Kazan Expo complex at the invitation of the agency. According to Talia Minullina, the agency suggested that they move a number of events to the Kazan site to load it. “I asked: let's hold some events here every year," she admitted, adding that “the object is heavy, and the area was originally large” and “when it was built, it was clear that it would not pay off”.

The task now is to integrate Kazan Expo into the general system of world expocentres. Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

KFU Technopolis will join Pharmedpolis

The head of the agency said that they are considering to reduce these areas and commercialise them gradually. “It is clear that some part will remain for exhibitions and a large concert hall.” Talia Minullina reminded that a year ago, Pharmedopolis RT PLC received part of the area. As it is known, it was concessioned 36,500 square metres out of 75,000 square metres of the area of the Kazan Expo exhibition Centre. In continuation of this, the transfer of 18,000 square metres of the KFU space is being discussed.

“There is still an idea to transfer it to the university, while we are still working on it, so that there is a greater exhaust for this site. So far, it is so difficult to operate, and such object is as big as a stadium," she said.

The press service of the KFU confirmed its readiness to use them. It was reminded that the transfer would take place on the initiative of the rector of the KFU, Ilshat Gafurov. “The KFU has created its own subprogramme. By the end of the year, we will witness the opening of our own university technopark. Thanks to the support of the republic's leadership and personally of Rustam Minnikhanov, one of the WorldSkills exhibition halls has been handed over to us. There we will form a technopark with an area of more than 18,000 square metres," Gafurov said at a recent press conference. The participants of the exhibition services market believe that the format of two pavilions of 10,000 each is optimal for large events.

By Luiza Ignatyeva