DecoContract Expands Its Exhibitor Base

April 29, 2003

BRUSSELS- In its third edition, DecoContract (6 to 9 September; Brussels) will show a new face. Rather than admitting only textile exhibitors, as it had in the past, the organizer, Textirama, has opened the floor of Hall 12 of the Brussels Expo to contract suppliers of the furniture, lighting, bedding and accessories industries.

The exhibition, which is held concurrently with upholstery fabric fair, Decosit, featured about 60 exhibitors last year, the organizer said. This year Textirama is hoping to fill Hall 12 entirely, which the group estimates would require about 80 exhibitors.

''If we fill Hall 12,'' said Koenraad Beaufays, DecoContract manager, ''that would double the square meterage [sold as exhibition space]. Then we would be dancing on the table.''

But Textirama is already thinking bigger and wants to be known as the premiere contract exhibition in Europe for the hospitality and cruise sectors. ''It depends on the economical situation, but in our dreams, [DecoContract could be] probably two halls; then you have 150 exhibitors. If we see that, then we will again be dancing on the tables,'' Beaufays said.

While Beaufays and Textirama envision an expansion taking place sometime between 2005 and 2008, it will be challenging. The economy in Europe, as in America, has constricted the flow of new contract projects.

''Where we are aiming at with Deco Contract is that middle ground of large family chains and the large chains,'' Beaufays said. ''The family chains might be made up of four, five or a maximum of 10 hotels.''

To be considered for Decosit, exhibitors must be either manufacturers or converters who own the machinery that produces their goods. That requirement is waived for DecoContract exhibitors, however suppliers ''must have the exclusivity of his product towards the contract business,'' Beaufays said.

In other DecoContract news, the The British Contract Furnishings Association has subsidized several British companies to exhibit. They will form a British pavilion in Hall 12.

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