Following the outbreak of sars in Asia, the organisers of ProPak Asia have announced a surprise jump in visitor numbers compared to last year's show attendance.
The organisers said that the success market the continuing growth of the processing and packaging markets in Southeast Asia and the return of normality to business activity in the region.
ProPak attracted 368 companies from 22 countries who participated in the four day event, which closed on 31st May in Bangkok. Preliminary figures indicated 15694 professional visitors were registered at this year's show.
ProPak Asia 2003 reported a "significant increase" in visitors from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal and UAE, despite a drop in visitors from the Greater China region and Singapore, following concerns regarding sars. Buyers attended the show from 44 countries, mainly from the South East Asian region.
The president of the Food Science and Technology Association of Thailand, Sakarindr Bhumiratana said, "with the shift towards knowledge based industries, the food industry continues to play an important role in the economic development of Thailand and other Asian countries. The food industry is incorporating more advanced technologies to improve efficiency, increase diversity to gain higher value added and to be more responsive to the requirements of the marketplace".
The organisers said that the potential of the market, the trend towards higher valued added production and the quality of the visitors was commented on by the exhibitors.
Takayo Motegi, deputy general manager of Ishida (Thailand), said, "the number of real business negotiations has increased this year, reflecting the increase in the quality of visitors".
Mr Chris Grainger, Sales Director of Marden Edwards, a member of the official UK pavilion, commented, "the show was the best attended since the 1997 Asian crisis and has generated some very good new leads."
According to the Bangkok Exhibition Services, the strong response to the show has already seen a record 70 per cent rebooking level for the 2004 show, which will be held from 16-19 June at BITEC, Bangkok.