2009 Trade Show and Energy Conference

Wednesday, 28 October 2009 19:32 BHA News Editor
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Business executives yesterday said they were hoping to match last year's total of 70 exhibitors at the two-day trade show attached to the upcoming 2009 Energy Conference, with some 25 companies already confirmed.

Frank Comito, the Bahamas Hotel Association's (BHA) executive vice-president, at a press conference to unveil the November 13-14 trade show, emphasised that it was not just designed as a platform for firms in the renewable energy/energy efficient industry, with manufacturers, marketing and public relations firms, food and beverage suppliers, IT firms, financial services providers and tourism-related companies among the 25 already signed-up.

Pointing out that 10,000 persons attended last year's trade show, Mr Comito said: "We hope we can reach the amount last year of having 70 booth exhibitors. It's a great opportunity for companies to showcase their latest product and services, and build strategic alliances with local and international companies."

Among those scheduled to attend this year's event is the US-based Lowe's, Mr Comito adding that the Trade Show provided Bahamian firms with an opportunity to interact with key executives and purchasers/buyers from this nation's resort and other industries, establishing new relationships and building on previous ones.

The BHA executive argued that the Trade Show would also provide an important marketing platform for Bahamian companies, something they needed to do more than ever in a recession.

"In tough economic times, industry tends to retrench," Mr Comito said. "In the hotel sector, we've realised that we've got to market more aggressively. Both the Ministry of Tourism and the private sector realise the pie is smaller, and to retain our proportionate share of the pie we have to market more aggressively.

"Now is more important than ever for businesses to promote themselves more aggressively and make buyers aware of what they offer, and how it makes a difference."

Mr Comito said fees for booth exhibitors would increase by $200 this year, as organisers looked to cover their costs after subsidising exhibitors last year.

While the economic downturn was a factor, the Trade Show having signed up five more exhibitors this time last year, Mr Comito emphasised the event's value. He said one start-up, which exhibited after just obtaining its Business Licence last year, obtained its first customer at the show and was still in business. Another company used the Trade Show to introduce another product line every year, and one sale of that product was regarded as a successful show.

On the energy conservation/efficiency front, with the conference scheduled for November 12, 2009, Mr Comito added: "The issue of energy efficiency is glaring in the minds of businesses, particularly now we're starting to see a creep up in oil prices.

"We know the cost of energy is a challenge for all of us in the coming years, and it's ever more important that we look at renewable sources of energy."

Mr Comito added that there needed to be a "greater understanding" of how the retrofitting of companies/homes, and the importation of renewable energy equipment, could be financed.

Jeff Dubel, the US Embassy's political/economic chief, said the Bahamas was "the perfect test bed to test these new" renewable energy technologies, given its geography and climate. He pointed out that 80 per cent of future greenhouse gas emissions would come from developing states.

Source: The Tribune
Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 October 2009 19:34