The 84th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) began in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki on Saturday, with India as the honoured country.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who arrived in the city on Friday, paid a visit to the trade exhibition and toured the pavilions and stands on Saturday morning. He is to deliver the customary prime minister's speech on the government's economic policy at the Vellidio Congress Centre on Saturday evening.
According to government sources, the prime minister's aim is to make his speech targeted and specific, presenting his goals for the next 12 months rather than vague promises to be delivered over the government's full four-year term, and transform TIF "from a forum of promises to a forum of accountability".
Under the central slogan "Growth for All", Mitsotakis is expected to focus on four main areas of policy in his speech:
Taxation and tax policy, where he will outline planned tax cuts for individuals and businesses; investments, especially the unblocking of existing flagship investments (COSCO, Hellas Gold and Hellinikon) that will attract new investments to Greece; labour issues, with the protection of workers, support of full employment and creation of jobs; and the shift to a digital state that makes people's daily lives easier and simpler, cutting through red tape and supporting growth.
More than 300,000 visitors expected at TIF 2019
With more than 1,600 exhibitors taking part, up from 1,494 in 2018, this year's TIF is expected to attract roughly 300,000 visitors and all available space has been occupied. India's participation will cover almost 3,000 square metres at Pavilion 13, with roughly 80 Indian businesses from a wide range of economic sectors, from farming to high technology, presenting their products.
The Indian mission includes representatives of global groups, such as Reliance Industries Ltd (petrochemicals, energy and polymers) with an annual turnover of more than 60 billion dollars, GMR Group (airports, energy and infrastructure), Larsen & Toubro (shipyards) and UPL Ltd (agriculture).
Indian magnate Prakash Hinduja, the head of the Hinduja group employing more than 150,000 people in mining, banking, energy, real estate and health, is an official guest at the fair.
Greek startups have also mounted a dynamic presence, with more than 300 introducing themselves to the public at TIF in two groups, from September 7-11 and September 12-15, at Pavilion 12, where more than 150 talks on cutting-edge issues will be held.
In addition to India, another 17 countries have organised state pavilions, as well as hundreds of Greek public and private organisations and enterprises.
This year the trade fair will be "Certified Smoke Free" - an initiative organised by the tobacco company Papastratos - and also the first event where a 5G network will be presented on a pilot basis, in collaboration with Wind and Huawei, enabling visitors to witness at close hand the capabilities of 5G devices in Greece.
In addition to the trade exhibition, this year's TIF will feature a number of special sections dedicated to various themes, including: Akademia (education and entrepreneurship), Automotive, Energy, Gastronomy Corner, Digital Greece and the Salonica Cannabis Expo 2019.
Visitors can also enjoy a number of parallel events and conferences, such as concerts, performances and art exhibitions, including several organised in the framework of India's participation as honoured country (Kathakali dance troupe, tributes to Indian cinema and Indian cuisine etc). More information and the full programme of events in English is available at the website https://www.thessalonikifair.gr/index.php/en.
Organised for the first time at TIF, the 4th Global Agripreneurs Summit will be held in Thessaloniki on September 7-11, while CHEAPART will be organised for the 6th consecutive year, presenting the work of 80 artists to the public. It will also feature the return of the circus Circo Medrano to Greece after many years.
The general admission ticket costs 7.00 euros but there are also lower-price tickets (5 euros) for off-peak hours (weekdays, 16:00-18:00), large families and children aged 4-10, while admittance for children under four is free of charge. The ticket for children includes admission to the Circo Medrano. There are also family tickets (20 euros) and tickets that include admission to the Circo Medrano.
Organised under the auspices of the Ministry of the Interior (Macedonia-Thrace), the 84th TIF is open to the public from 16:00-22:00 on weekdays and from 10:00-22:00 at the weekend.
The Prime Minister's programme in Thessaloniki is as follows:
Saturday, September 7
10:00 Meeting with the TIF BoD and the BoD of the TIF employees
10:30-13:15 Visits to TIF kiosks
13:20 Visit to the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki
20:00 Prime Minister's Speech at the Vellidio Congress Centre
Sunday, September 8
13:00 Prime Minister's Press Conference