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Amsterdam RAI posts record turnover in 2012

Some 629 events were organised in the RAI complex in 2012, attracting more than 1.4 million visitors. Almost 400,000 of these attended international exhibitions and conferences, an increase of 30% on previous years. The total number of exhibitors in 2012 remained stable at 16,364.

AMSTERDAM – Despite the challenging economic climate, 2012 was a very successful year for Amsterdam RAI with a record turnover achieved from its core activities. The RAI posted a net turnover of 134.7 million euros; 0.8% higher than the 133.6 million euros in 2011, and 7.8% more than 2010, a similar year in terms of the event calendar (125 million euros). The results from the core activities of the RAI – the organising and facilitating of exhibitions and events – rose by an impressive 26.4% compared to 2011. This rise, which is also important due to the spin-off the RAI creates for the city of Amsterdam and surrounding region, can be partly attributed to a notable calendar of international and national events as well as a growing attraction for international conferences.

The costs in 2012 increased by 2.9 million compared to 2011 due mainly to setbacks at the subsidiaries RAI Langfords (publishing company) and MECC Maastricht. As a result, the operational profit fell from 7.8 million euros in 2011 to 6.0 million euros in 2012. The net profit of 2012 was determined at 2.0 million euros (2011: 3.1 million euros).

More visitors to international events
Some 629 events were organised in the RAI complex in 2012, attracting more than 1.4 million visitors. Almost 400,000 of these attended international exhibitions and conferences, an increase of 30% on previous years. The total number of exhibitors in 2012 remained stable at 16,364.

Successful RAI portfolio
The RAI-organised events were key cornerstones for the RAI’s success. International trade exhibitions such as Intertraffic and ISSA Interclean saw growth, while METS remained stable. Editions of RAI-organised events (in the field of water management, traffic technology and professional cleaning) in China, the US and India made an increasing contribution to the results. National events including the Horecava and Huishoudbeurs as well as the revitalised BedrijfsautoRAI (road transport show) performed as expected.

General Director Hans Bakker of Amsterdam RAI is content with the results: “With a surplus of 26.4% on the core activities and a visitor increase of 30% at our international events, last year showed that companies continue to enjoy coming together to seek inspiration and create added value, despite the economic climate. The international character and market-leading positions of many events organised by Amsterdam RAI and others have strengthened the resilience of the RAI to the ongoing recession. At the same time, it ensures continuity in the spin-off that the RAI generates for the city of Amsterdam and the surrounding region. Every euro spent at the RAI equals four euros spent in the city.”

International appeal
Over the past ten years, the RAI has invested more than €141 million in its facilities at the Europaplein in Amsterdam. By optimising the facilities in Amsterdam and innovating the exhibition concepts, Amsterdam RAI is increasingly able to attract or organise international events.

“This is crucial as there is an international trend in which professionals and consumers still visit exhibitions and conferences – but only those that really matter,” says Bakker. “Events with internationally leading positions therefore continue to grow, while events without a high national or international profile are under pressure.”

The starting position of Amsterdam RAI in Europe is strong. Investments in top-quality facilities, the location of Amsterdam RAI near Amsterdam’s city centre and Amsterdam Schiphol (Europe’s fourth largest airport), the growing availability of hotel rooms (over 30,000 in greater Amsterdam), and the attractions of Amsterdam itself make the RAI a very attractive location for large-scale, multi-day international events. This is underlined by the well-filled order portfolio for the coming years and the international awards won by the RAI in 2012.

Award-winning venue
In 2012 Amsterdam RAI was named Best International Venue by the leading trade magazine Exhibition News. The RAI was also presented with the prestigious Sustainable Development Award by trade organisation UFI and the European Social Responsibility Award by marketing organisation HSMAI.

Setbacks at subsidiaries
The positive financial results of the core activities were partly negated by setbacks at RAI Langfords and MECC Maastricht. In July 2012 it became clear that RAI Langfords had been presenting the results as better than they actually were for several years. The activities of RAI Langfords were sold as of 1 January 2013.

Contrary to expectations, MECC Maastricht also had disappointing results in 2012. Despite changes implemented in 2011 and 2012, the 2012 results remained negative. As participating in another exhibition and conference centre in the Netherlands is no longer in line with the RAI’s strategy, Amsterdam RAI recently came to an agreement to terminate the partnership with the City of Maastricht. Since 1 January 2013 (retroactively), Amsterdam RAI no longer has a financial risk from the operation of MECC Maastricht.

Expansion with ‘third-generation exhibition building’
The vision of expanding the RAI complex with high-quality, up-to-date facilities for multi-day international events will be further realised with the construction of a new building on the nearby Scheldeplein square in the autumn of 2013. This ‘third-generation exhibition building’ which combines exhibition, conference and office functions, is the first project based on the RAI’s (Spatial) Future Vision document.

Prospects for 2013
The prospects for 2013 are mixed. Amsterdam RAI is expecting an exceptional conference year which includes the Society of Cardiology Congress (ESC) with over 30,000 participating cardiologists, the European Cancer Congress (ECC) and European Association of Liver Studies (EALS). In addition, there is a stable order portfolio with returning large-scale events such as IS Europe, the European Utility Week, PLMA and IBC. The editions of RAI-organised international exhibition titles in the Netherlands and abroad continue to grow. On a national level, the RAI’s own titles Horecava and Huishoudbeurs will draw in the largest crowds.

Due to the sale of the activities of publishing company RAI Langfords and the termination of the joint venture with the City of Maastricht in MECC Maastricht, the 2013 results of Amsterdam RAI will only be determined by the RAI’s core activities.

Based on the strong international and national position, Amsterdam RAI has considerable confidence in the future. Despite the continuing economic challenges and last-minute cancellation of AutoRAI 2013, Amsterdam RAI expects to achieve positive overall results in 2013.

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