Balt Military Expo 2021 and InterMarE South Baltic Online

Over 800 participants, 220 exhibitors and high attendance at meetings and conferences. The first online trade exhibitions organised by the MTG SA Gdańsk International Fair Co. have been a success!

The pandemic, which has continued for over a year, has necessitated a change in event format. The team of the MTG SA Gdańsk International Fair Co. took on a considerable challenge to hold trade fairs in a virtual space. For three days, Balt Military Expo (BME) and the first-ever InterMarE South Baltic Maritime Economy Exhibition were held online.

“The preparations took over a year, we had watched how others were doing it, we believed that it was possible and we succeeded,”
said Andrzej Bojanowski, CEO of the MTG SA Gdańsk International Fair Co., at the official opening. “Even now, we are seeing the first inquiries from companies participating in the exhibitions and conferences, who are interested in holding similar events. We believe that this edition will be remembered by everyone but, next time, we want to meet in person as well,” emphasised CEO Andrzej Bojanowski.

The online trade fair format was made possible by a custom-made platform developed in collaboration with InfoShare, MTG SA’s technological partner. “In the case of these trade fairs, where the participation of visitors was free of charge, I was surprised by the attendance, higher than at paid online events,” emphasises Tomasz Pawul of InfoShare.

The BME and InterMarE side events required three separate studios to be set up. Online events, from concept to production, are part of the portfolio offered by the MTG SA Gdańsk International Fair Co.

Exhibitors and trade fair participants had the opportunity to establish direct contacts via live chat at virtual stands, with one-on-one meetings at a convenient time and place arranged and ensured via matchmaking. The webinar room enabled the exhibitors to present their companies, carry out streaming and hold studio interviews. A Cross Border Main Stage presentation provided an even more expanded format for showcasing one’s company to all participants in both the exhibitions and the conferences. As an added functionality, the exhibitors were provided with the option to display a product catalogue and a business card which a potential customer could download and leave their own in return. There were large screens at each stand, acting as notice boards, for companies to display information and marketing content.

The turnout among registered participants was as high as 71 per cent. The three conferences were attended by 670 participants. Peak attendance at the NatCon International Conference was close to 200. “The online format turned out to be a success, as it made business meetings possible in real time,” says BME Project Manager Marek Buczkowski. “This format may enrich the conference in the future. BME and NATCON were dominated by the MIECZNIK Programme, with the announcement by Poland’s Minister of National Defence of the decision to acquire a frigate-class vessel for the Polish Navy under the MIECZNIK Programme. The conference featured speakers who made references to MIECZNIK, representing both the domestic and international industry, as well as state institutions, including the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland.”

The aim of the InterMarE Project is to internationalise South Baltic Region companies and include them in the international supply chain; their dedication during this online exhibition indicates that this is the direction where these measures are headed. The InterMarE Project, dedicated to small and medium-sized enterprises, makes such business activity possible by bringing together the maritime industry’s small and medium-sized businesses in the South Baltic Sea Region.

“The online format made it possible for visitors from the United States, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to participate in the events held in Gdańsk,” remarks Magdalena Magdzińska, InterMarE Project Manager. “The visitors from Lithuania, Germany, Sweden and Spain were very active.
The Organising Committee intends to continue the GreenMarE Conference, with its excellent content quality, as an annual event. The stands of the EU projects which are run in parallel with InterMarE: ELMAR (Electric Water Mobility in South Baltic Region) and INCONE ‘60, alongside GALATEA, with the Baltic Sea and Space Cluster as its partner, were active and well prepared,”
M. Magdzińska sums up.

The three-day online event was very highly rated by both Polish and international participants. “Thank you for the excellently delivered InterMarE in the virtual version. I learned a lot and I am glad to have spent my time in this way,” Marcus Fredriksson of the Karlskrona City Hall shared his impressions, while Małgorzata from the Warsaw-based Atlantic Contract company added: “Excellently organised exhibition and meeting tools, we are very pleased; your exhibition has given our team a whole array of valuable contacts.”

“The numbers do not lie and it makes us happy,”
emphasises Paweł Orłowski, Vice CEO of the MTG SA Gdańsk International Fair Co. “If we were holding this event in-person, probably not so many interested parties would participate. This shows the potential of operating online. We hope that this will translate into very good business relations. It seems that there is no going back in the future from carrying out such events in a hybrid way, i.e. in parallel on-site and in the virtual space. On the one hand, when we meet face-to-face, we establish personal contacts and use all our senses, which is important from a marketing point of view; on the other hand, an extensive online component, especially for those exhibitors and visitors from around the world who cannot always participate in the event in person, provides us with potential business relationships that we could not otherwise establish. I look forward with optimism to the growing potential for even deeper communication and business satisfaction of both the exhibitors and their customers.”

The Exhibitions in Figures:

Over 1,200 registered individuals (participants and exhibitors).
Over 800 people took part in the trade exhibitions and conferences, with the attendance among registered participants at 71%!
The conferences, which were part of the trade exhibitions, had 670 participants.

3,944 – views of the exhibitors’ stands
990 – downloaded/sent business cards
942 – downloaded brochures
832 – that many participants took part in the matchmaking opportunity
82 – exhibition stands visited by the most active visitor on a single day
44 mins – average time spent on the exhibition platform