Koelnmesse’s economic effects

In Creative Industries by Europa Regina

Trade fairs in Cologne generate more than 2 billion EUR in turnover throughout Germany

The economic benefits of the trade fair business extend far beyond Cologne

The events organized by Koelnmesse have a big impact on the economy of Cologne and also generate very positive effects throughout North Rhine-Westphalia and the rest of Germany. This was confirmed by a study published by the Munich-based ifo-Institut on Tuesday, 21 April. The study was the second since 2004 to investigate Koelnmesse’s economic effects. “The results of the study once again underscore the trade fairs’ importance for the region and elsewhere,” says Koelnmesse CEO Gerald Böse. “We are a strong driving force for the economy – in Cologne and beyond!”


Trade fair visitors spend 384 EUR on average when they come to Cologne. Around half of this amount is spent in Cologne on items such as accommodation (22.8%), catering (15.2%) and shopping (6.5%). Exhibitors spend 36,630 EUR on average to participate in a trade fair. The biggest items are the costs of stand construction (23.6%), stand rental (20.3%) and personnel (15.1%). In an average trade fair year, exhibitors and visitors spend a total of 1.5 Billion EUR worldwide to attend events organized by Koelnmesse.

The biggest beneficiary is the city of Cologne. Expenditures generate turnover of 1.11 Billion EUR in Cologne and 2.02 Billion EUR throughout Germany. The business operations of Koelnmesse safeguard 18,502 jobs in Germany, 11,392 of them in Cologne. The purchasing effects generated by the Cologne trade fairs provide Germany with 381 Million EUR of additional tax income each year. North Rhine-Westphalia accounts for 154.5 million EUR of this tax income, Cologne for 16.5 Million EUR. In addition to direct economic effects such as accommodation costs and catering, the figures also take indirect effects into account. These effects include further services purchased by hotels, the material used by stand constructors and the fuel consumed by the freight-forwarding companies’ trucks.


Economic effects increase in ten-year comparison. All of the indicators for indirect returns increased by double-digit percentages compared to the results of the study in 2004. The number of trade-fair-related jobs rose by 18 per cent in Cologne over the past ten years (2004 study: 9,655 jobs). This figure increased by 12 per cent nationwide. The increases are even more pronounced in the areas of purchasing power and tax income. Purchasing power effects rose by 32 per cent nationwide (2004 study: 1.53 EUR billion; 2014 study: 2.02 EUR billion) and by 34 per cent in Cologne (from 0.83 Billion EUR to 1.11 Billion EUR).
Tax income, meanwhile, increased by 57 per cent for Cologne (2004 study: 10.5 Million EUR; 2014 study: 16.5 Million EUR) and by 40 per cent for North Rhine-Westphalia (2004 study: 110.5 Million EUR; 2014 study: 154.5 Million EUR).

Record results in 2013: 1.24 EUR billion of turnover in Cologne alone. Due to differences in the trade fair cycles, there are traditionally more events in odd-numbered years than in even-numbered ones. This fact is also reflected in the study’s results. For example, a total of 62 trade fairs (including such heavyweights as IDS, imm cologne, Anuga and gamescom) were held in 2013, which was the most successful year in the history of Koelnmesse. As a result, all three indicators were far above those of an average trade fair year. In 2013 Koelnmesse’s trade fair business generated 1.24 Billion EUR in turnover in Cologne and 2.28 Billion EUR nationwide. Such an exceptionally good trade fair year also affects the number of jobs that are safeguarded by the trade fair business. A total of 20,969 jobs depended on Koelnmesse ‘s trade fair business nationwide. The number of jobs that this business helped to secure in Cologne rose to 12,819 in 2013. This record-setting year also caused tax income to rise at the local, state and federal levels. In 2013 trade fairs generated 18 million EUR in tax income in Cologne (average trade fair year: 16.5 Million EUR) and 174.0 Million EUR in North Rhine-Westphalia (average trade fair year: 154.5 Million EUR).