Jan 2020 Exhibiting innovation in Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki’s position as a hub for trade and innovation is about to take a major step forward with multiple developments taking place in Greece’s second-biggest city at the moment.
“Thessaloniki can become a European Silicon Valley,” says Anastasios Tzikas, president of TIF Helexpo, the national exhibition agency that organizes international trade events and owns Greece’s most important exhibition centers, Helexpo Maroussi in Athens and the Thessaloniki International Exhibition Center. The latter is undergoing major renovation, says Tzikas: “Our brand-new, high-end venue will be a landmark and help make Thessaloniki a regional exhibitions hub. We hope to publish an architectural tender in 2021.”
In 2018, TIF Helexpo’s events attracted about 5,600 exhibitors and 1.2 million visitors. “Our cornerstone is September’s Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), Greece’s largest trade fair,” Tzikas says. TIF introduces developments and trends in numerous sectors. Each year, it also hosts an “honored country” which leads to collaborations, he says: “Since the U.S. was honored in 2018, Deloitte has decided to invest in Thessaloniki’s high-technology park Technopolis, Pfizer is creating a digital hub here and Cisco is investing in an innovation center.”
In a sign of its importance, Prime Minister Mitsotakis chose to announce plans for new innovation park in Thessaloniki at TIF 2019, which has attracted significant international interest. Tzikas is unsurprised: “Thessaloniki is a great place to do business. It combines great human resources, academic and research institutions, an organized innovation ecosystem, and ideal living conditions.”