Business News of Wednesday, 11 March 2015
Exhibitors at the 19th international trade Fair in Accra have asked organizers to look for innovative ways to attract more patrons.
According to them, this year’s fair was very poor in terms of patronage and sales. The fair which started on February 26, closed on Sunday March 8 with several sheds left empty due to the lack of interest from exhibitors.
The few exhibitors who took part in this year’s fair were quite livid about the low patronage and publicity which has left them with losses. The fair was to search for strategic investors to turn it into a modern expo center.
Organized under the auspices of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the fair is aimed at facilitating local and international trade and to provide the opportunity for exhibitors both local and foreign, to showcase goods and sell at reduced prices.
Unlike previous years, the 19th edition had exhibitors predominantly from local industries. A visit by the TV3 crew to the venue showed that the usual busy environment that boomed with trading activities in the past, was absent.
Some stands were also empty. Items including, clothes, jewelry and shoes were however on display to attract buyers but the buyers were nowhere to be found. Interview with TV3, some of the aggrieved exhibitors shared their frustration.
A Lebanese trader said “I have been coming to Ghana for almost 15 years and I have a lot of customers and friends here, but this year I don’t know what happened. I called them and asked why they were not coming and they say there is no money.”
Another trader from Nigeria added that “this is an international trade fair, as you can see from the stands it’s almost empty. Only half is full so I am pleading with the organizers to properly advertise the show for next year.”
A third trader who spoke to TV3 also added that “It has been poor, I don’t know what went into advertisement but people are not even aware that there is a trade fair going on. We paid huge sums of monies to get stands and at the end of the day we are unable to sell anything.”
Just like several other people who did not know about the fair, one customer said he only saw a banner and entered to check out what was happening only to realize there was a fair ongoing.
He said “No advert, I didn’t see anything on TV, I didn’t hear anything on radio. I was just passing by and I saw a banner and decided to pass by because it looked like a supermarket.”
Organizers of the event have failed to improve on the trade fair concept which in the last decade saw many Ghanaians participating.