Friday, October 13, 2017

the interview - Ola Eriksen, Managing Director, Trondheim Spektrum AS

Ola Eriksen is the CEO and organiser of AquaNor and Nor-Fishing, as well as the Managing Director of Trondheim Spektrum AS.
Trondheim Spektrum is the hosting place for Nor-Fishing and AquaNor, two of Aquaculture’s biggest conferences of the year. The destination also played host to both Rod Steward and Bryan Adams!
Mr Eriksen has been the Managing Director for the company since August 2010, before having previously worked with G4S.
Trondheim Spektrum is a limited liability company in which Trondheim municipality owns 75 percent, and the rest is distributed among shareholders such as Nordea, Danske Bank and Sparebank 1 SMN. The cost frame is around 500 million. The firm is based in Trondheim, Norway.










Why do you believe there has been a significant increase in technology in aquauculture over the past few years?
Whilst aquaculture is growing, we also see that in the offshore market, the oil market is having a current crash. Technology companies are turning their focus a little and because the technology is also very similar to that in aquaculture, they are turning towards our industry basically to see if their products are good enough. I believe this is the biggest reason for the growth in the past few years. There are a lot of new exhibitors here today with 100 new companies from 500 to 600.

Can Trondheim Spektrum’s square footage accommodate all of these new exhibitors?
Yes, I think we are selling approximately 9,000 square metres, and that only includes the booths. In total we have over 20,000 square metres. There will be a new facility starting straight after this exhibition.
The new hall will be approximately 5,000 square metres. We will have a place for 20,000 people for a concert; it will be an indoor concert arena. We will have 8,000-seated spaces for a sports event. We will be hosting the European Championship for handball, for both women and men. This will be finished and in operation in 2019. This is the plan, and it is close, as we are one year behind already.

Is car parking going to be an issue?
We will create lots of parking around the area, and then use shuttle buses. We don’t want cars in this place; if possible, we will have to have some parking spaces. For big events such as this, for big sporting events or concerts, we will use shuttle buses.

How are the visitor numbers changing?
It is increasing. I believe we had a 30 percent increase,, 6550, and I heard now we are past 8,000. This is a very big record for us. Last year we had 5,000 on the first day, and 6,400 on the second day. It is only people who are in the business that are here, and they are very happy with the quality. I think that is the most important, the quality, not the quantity.

Why do you think you attract quality?
It is not me, it is the industry, it is the exhibitors who have such interesting products. There is so much innovation; the technology is very advanced. I think that is the reason why. There is a lot to do in the sea, but there are also problems, and so they are using a lot of money for science and developing new technology.

Is there any innovation on the exhibitor organising side for the next event such as online tickets or apps?
Yes, we have also started working on this. We have to talk together to find out what kind of solution we will need to have in the future.
We are very happy that it was not raining. We are working on developing a new system, questioning if we can alter the current system or do something else. We need to do this because one day it is going to rain! We have to be prepared.

Can you give me a view on how you see this event going in the future?
If we manage to hold the quality that we have today, and listen to the customers, and getting better at the smaller things I think we will hold the position. Although, I am not sure we will get much bigger. If we manage to keep the quality on this level and also have meeting days, because everyone says the most important things are the meetings, then I think we will hold the position. We cannot lie down complacently and say we are doing well; we must work very hard to keep it at that level.
Our visitors and exhibitors need the feeling that they have been in Trondheim, they need to get that feeling that this was a good exhibition, a lot of leads, a lot of contacts, and town has shown them the best side and the weather is good. This is very important for me to consider as an organiser, the impact of all of these aspects.

Where are you seeing the growth of visitors coming from? Are they from Norway, Scandinavia, South America?
The majority is from the domestic part, and it is increasing from around the world. As the situation is improving, I think the companies are sending more people, this is because the situation in the business is very good now. More money means sending two people instead of one. I think it is more companies, and of course they will invite more of their customers here.

A lot of this technology now, which has been going for a number of decades, is slowly becoming available for more and more countries that are developing. We’re talking countries in Africa, and the Far East, yet I sometimes wonder is the infrastructure of Trondheim prohibitive in cost, for those developing countries to come here?
Yes, I understand that this is a high cost country, especially in this kind of event. There are a lot of possibilities to do actions about that. We are discussing every year about foreign countries, especially Africa, with the department, and also with the fishing foundation. What can we do for them because we have a lot of contacts from Africa that want to come here. We are not talking about the cost side, but I think maybe we should do that, and offer them another kind of hospitality.


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