CEBIT: Fewer people, butmore senior visitors

Companies sent fewer employees to Hanover's CEBIT technology this year, but those that did attend were more senior, organisers...

Companies sent fewer employees to Hanover's CEBIT technology this year, but those that did attend were more senior, organisers have claimed.

Around 700,000 visitors, more than 85% of them there on business, attended the eight-day show, which finished on Wednesday, to check out the latest developments in computing, software, networking and telecommunication.

Visitor numbers were down around 18% on last year's record attendance of 850,000, when the show ran for only seven days. German trade fair organisers count the same person attending two days of a show as two visitors, CEBIT organisers said in a statement last year. Since this year's show ran for longer, the drop-off in the number of people attending may be even larger than the visitor numbers suggest.

However, the proportion of visitors holding top managerial positions has risen from 18.1% to 20.9%, suggesting that companies are sending fewer low-ranking employees to the show than in the past.

A surprise statistics was that the number of US visitors increased to 9,400, compared with only 8,900 in 2001. The organisers had expected the economic decline in the high-tech industry, combined the heightened concern over security since 11 September, to discourage transatlantic visitors.

Such worries affected attendance at the influential Comdex trade show in Las Vegas last November.

However, there were only 345 exhibitors from the US this year, compared with 477 last year. Some of the absentees may be waiting for the first CEBIT America event, which is due to take place in New York in June.

Overall, the number of exhibitors in Hanover was almost unchanged at 7,962 this year, against 8,093 last year. Of those, 3,043 were from outside Germany, compared with 3,059 a year ago. The largest foreign contingent came from Taiwan, with 594 this year, against 527 in 2001.

Next year's show runs at the Hanover Fairground in Hanover from March 12 to March 19, 2003.

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