Iran is a solvent market with an enormous need for consumer goods, equipment and large infrastructure projects (electricity, water, accommodations, transport, etc). Additionally, production costs (labour, energy, etc) are low so that it is a strategic choice for foreign investors.

According to UNCTAD’s 2020 World Investment Report, the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of Iran inflows amounted to USD 1,5 billion in 2019, showing a 36% decrease from USD 2,4 billion in 2018 due to political and economic sanctions reimposed in 2017. It had picked up rapidly following the nuclear agreement signed between Iran and major international powers on 2015.

Now, Iran’s exhibition industry seeks to provide a digital solution to facilitate the presence of international companies interested in the Iran’s market. Due to Iran’s import and export capacities, despite reimposed sanctions, many international companies are still willing to participate in this market and maintain their economic activities. it seems that one of the most effective ways to advertise and participate in this new emerging market is to benefit from new technologies of trade shows like ‘virtual’ exhibitions and hybrid tradeshows. In this way, foreign investors would be able to use digital marketing solutions as well as digital currencies to deal with Iranian companies. These transactions are carried out safely and borderless.

Today, this is a challenging decision for Iranian exhibition organizing directors to find a responsive long-term strategy to support foreign investors as well as their exhibitions. The question is that is it a way to make exhibition industry upgraded or finishing over time? By developing online exhibitions, the availability of exhibitors and visitors through e-meeting and online calls will be facilitated. It seems that there is no need to rent floor and build stands anymore! Thus, it is crucially important to consider it as an alternative solution beside physical exhibitions.

To emphasize on Jochen Witt (UFI Member of the Board) publish at Exhibition World Magazine, spending money on ‘virtual’ exhibitions is a waste and maintains that any digital strategy must be holistic because the essence of any exhibition or tradeshow is physical presence.

He added, to continue our successful face to face business we need to develop a digital strategy with offerings which must fulfill four criteria:

1.    Strengthening the face to face event has the highest priority, everything we do digitally has to support the physical business; a digital-only offering will not be able to compete against the incumbent digital titans.

2.    Digital offerings need to create added value for our clients, so that it can be monetized.

3.    Digital offerings need to deliver first-class content.

4.    Digital offerings need to be extended beyond the timespan and attendee reach of an face to face event.

He mentioned that to enhance the participation and satisfaction levels of attendees, virtual events must be developed as a part of a comprehensive digital strategy rather that as individual products.

Iran in 2021 expects to receive a huge interest in returning foreign companies following Joe Biden victory in the United States presidential election. He has stated that after taking office on 20 January, he will rejoin the agreement if Iran first resumes strict compliance with the terms.

According to last sanction lifting experience in 2015 and based on Frame Company studies, Iranian companies and corporations are expected to act more agile and compatible this time. Building a transparent and user-friendly platform to ease the presence of local and international attendees. Hybrid exhibitions conduct the organizers to collect and manage the client’s data and invest smarter in the future. Taking advantages of digital marketing and artificial intelligence to reach out to the right markets and facilitate participation of more exhibitors and visitors in the exhibitions. It definitely needs to empower the country IT infrastructures and also increase the industry activist’s knowledge about digital tools and online trading regulations.

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