An important sea-trading port city of the eastern Mediterranean, Izmir is also a city of fairs and congresses with a track record dating back 81 years and currently hosting around 40 fairs annually. It passed one of its biggest tests in 1971, hosting the Mediterranean Olympics for the first time, with other cultural fairs since including the UNIVERSIADE 2005 event, an important milestone in the city’s bid for the 2020 World EXPO.
Its infrastructure includes five purpose-built convention centres, 190 establishments with 39,602 beds, including five thermal hotels taking advantage of the region’s natural spa resources. There are superb links to the city by air, with its airport serving 98 destinations in 34 countries as of 2012. Izmir was named Europe’s leading cruise destination in both 2011 and 2012 at the Word Travel Awards.
Izmir hosted Turkey’s first-ever international general commerce fair, the Izmir International Fair, and is closely associated with the world renowned Marble – International Natural Stone and Technology Fair. Also, one of the most important wine events in the world, the Digital Wine Communications Conference (EWBC), took place there in November 2012.
As Turkey’s third largest city, Izmir is the lively capital of the Aegean region in western Turkey – a region of olive groves, vineyards and natural thermal springs. It is a historical and archaeological city that boasts a treasure of historic sites inside and close to the city, with Ephesus, Pergamon, Agora and the Virgin Mary’s House being the best-known examples of Izmir’s 8500-year old history.
With its unique history, food and wine tours, Mediterranean climate with 300 days of sunshine and being surrounded by the sea, Izmir as a destination is ideal for events. A meeting point for many cultures and artistic disciplines, Izmir is a city of art and culture with festivals and exhibitions, fairs and conventions filling up the city’s calendar year round.
The Izmir Convention Centre is offering a ‘4+1’ deal whereby international associations holding four-day congresses in 2014 get free hall hire on their first day plus free accommodation for their delegates’ last night. See www.izmircvb.org.tr for more information.
Forthcoming fairs include the 55th Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Europe and Seminar on Tourism on World Heritage Sites and the World Health & 3rd Age Tourism Congress, as well as fairs on agriculture, retail, fashion, construction and technology.
Plans are under way to move the Izmir Fair exhibition centre to a new location with additional capacity and modern facilities. With 80,000m2 of space, the venue is set to open in early 2014 and will be the largest in downtown Izmir. The existing exhibition hall will be converted into a 24,000m2 congress centre, boasting spacious rooms, modern technology services and capacity for up to 10,000.
Outside Izmir, in Kusadasi, the new 43,000m2 Ephesus Convention Centre is set to open in March. Built close to the famous ruins, the centre’s two auditoriums were inspired by Anatolia’s ancient amphitheatres and there is a 2780m2 exhibition hall and 35 meeting rooms. There are more than 1000 guest rooms within walking distance, and plans to build new hotels in the region are under way.