Aquatech Amsterdam 2008 more international than ever

Aquatech Amsterdam 2008, a leading trade exhibition on process, drinking and wastewater, attracted more international visitors than ever before. This emphasizes the ongoing success of organizer Amsterdam RAI in developing the Aquatech formula across three international exhibitions in Amsterdam, China and the United States. Aquatech Amsterdam 2008 took place from 30 September to 3 October and was visited close to 19,000 times, 53 percent of the visitors came from outside the Netherlands...

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Oct. 9, 2008 -- Aquatech Amsterdam 2008, the world's leading trade exhibition on process, drinking and wastewater, attracted more international visitors than ever before. This emphasizes the ongoing success of organizer Amsterdam RAI in developing the Aquatech formula across three international exhibitions in Amsterdam, China and the United States. Internationally operating water technology companies such as Norit and ITT are very positive about the Aquatech formula as they feel that the exhibitions complement each other and attract many decision makers. Aquatech Amsterdam 2008 took place from 30 September to 3 October and was visited close to 19,000 times, 53 percent of the visitors came from outside the Netherlands. In addition, the 850 exhibiting companies were represented by 4,200 employees at the exhibition.

Exhibition growth due to more visitors from southern and eastern Europe
"Although Aquatech Amsterdam 2008 attracted less visitors from the US due to the financial crisis, more people from Germany, France, Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean countries came to Amsterdam this year," says a satisfied Paddy Young, Domain Manager at Amsterdam RAI. "The increase in the number of European visitors fits in with the expansion of the Aquatech formula to three exhibitions in China, the USA and Europe. And this year we placed the spotlight on industrial water with special presentations at the AquaStages on the exhibition floor and a well-attended international IWA conference."

Decision makers and government officials well represented
Aquatech Amsterdam 2008 was visited almost 19,000 times by visitors coming from 133 countries. With over 850 exhibitors from 47 countries, it is the world's most authoritative exhibition in the field of process, drinking and waste water. Most of the visitors (74 percent) were final decision makers for investing in projects/products, and a large number represented local and national governmental institutions from Holland and abroad. Aquatech has become increasingly international in recent years.

The future of water technology at Aquatech
During the opening ceremony, captains-of-industry from ITT, GE Water, Siemens and Veolia discussed how the speed of water technology innovations can be increased. Paul Reiter, Executive Director of the International Water Association (IWA), underlined the need for these innovations as climate change, population growth, global urbanization and increasing prosperity result in ongoing demands for water. "The water sector will not be able to handle this demand using the current technologies," Reiter stated. "The main issue now is how we can quickly bring new technologies onto the market that allow us to produce more drinking water." The reactions from the CEOs during the opening discussions made clear that while desalination of sea water will increase, the major global trend will be water recycling.

Membrane filtration is the water technology of the future and this was clearly demonstrated by the world's leading water technology companies, who all gathered at Aquatech. Traditionally well represented in the treatment of drinking water, membrane filtration is now increasingly being used in wastewater treatment. A remarkable number of membrane bio-reactors (MBRs) were exhibited at Aquatech. Although this technology is more expensive than conventional aerobic treatment, it is an interesting option due to its compactness and the exceptional purity of the effluent. This holds especially true as the Water Framework Directive is implemented and stricter water emission standards are applied.

Satisfied exhibitors and sponsors
The two main sponsors of Aquatech Amsterdam 2008, Norit and ITT, were very satisfied with the event. According to Norit Director Menno Holterman, Aquatech is an excellent example of a trade exhibition in a niche market. "This concept is currently more efficient than a wider exhibition," says Holterman. "The quality of the exhibition visitors is very high and this provides us with the opportunity to come into contact with potential clients." Norit signed many new contracts at Aquatech. "The financial crisis did not appear to have much of an impact. Water will always be in demand," states the Norit Director with conviction. "Look at the extreme drought in Australia. Money is a secondary issue there."

Björn von Euler, Director of Communications at ITT, is also delighted with Aquatech Amsterdam 2008: "Aquatech stands out from other exhibitions. The dedicated water technologists create a friendly atmosphere, giving visitors more time for useful conversations." Von Euler also speaks highly of the various places to meet visitors such as the AquaStages on the exhibition floor and the international conferences.

Industrial water in the spotlight
This year's Aquatech saw a special focus on industrial sectors that consume large amounts of water, such as the chemical, paper, food and textile industries. In cooperation with the International Water Association (IWA), Amsterdam RAI organized an exceptionally well-attended industrial water conference, where speakers from around the world came to discuss a wealth of innovative solutions. IWA Director Paul Reiter says industry is the largest innovator in water technology: "Governments have to be much more conservative in their choice for technologies as water flows are variable. Industry can implement new water technologies far more quickly."

Jobs in water
As initiated by the exhibition organizers and the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP), the exhibition featured a Jobs in Water vacancy wall with over 100 vacancies in the Dutch water sector. This figure could easily have been doubled, according to the NWP. The large number of vacancies shows how difficult it is to find good technical personnel, which is why the water sector was so pleased with the initiative. Various spontaneous reactions resulted in immediate job interviews on the exhibition floor. After the exhibition, the Aquatech website has remained open for both job seekers and recruiters.

Free public transport
Amsterdam RAI offered all visitors free public transport during the exhibition, including within Amsterdam (with the Amsterdam public transport company GVB) and to and from the exhibition from throughout the Netherlands (with Dutch railway company NS). "This service was very well received," adds Aquatech spokesperson Marieke Leenhouts. "Many Aquatech visitors took advantage of the option to use free public transport."


Aquatech Global Events is a portfolio of the world's leading trade exhibitions on process, drinking and waste water technology.

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