Value Added Tax
➤ The Turkish version of VAT is called KDV, and ranges between 8 percent and 18 percent depending on the product.
➤ Taxes on many purchases relating to exhibiting in Turkey are refundable. The Beyoglu Tax Office in Istanbul is the authorized refund authority. Many local accountants offer refund services to foreign companies on a commission, and private services like Global Blue Holdings AB will obtain refunds for business and consumer purchases.
➤ Voltage in Turkey is 220 to 240 volts, and exhibitors will need adapters to use power while in Istanbul.
➤ Sockets are one of three European styles: the Type C Europlug, or the Type E or Type F Schuko.
➤ Adapters/transformers are expensive to rent from show management, but can be purchased in most shops.
➤ Booth contractors are typically responsible for all facets of installation and dismantle, including disposal of exhibits and construction waste. Get everything in writing ahead of time to avoid misunderstandings.
➤ The exhibit builder determines disposal fees for build-and-burn exhibits, but the cost is usually included in the overall proposal and may not be separated in a line item.
➤ Booth-cleaning services can be ordered through show management, although private contractors sometimes contact exhibitors directly to solicit business.
➤ Turkish cell-phone providers offer prepaid phones and SIM cards through shops located around the city.
➤ Royalty laws exist in Istanbul but are not strictly enforced at most trade shows.
➤ Major exhibiting venues in Istanbul limit music volume to 80 decibels when measured from three feet outside the booth.
➤ Dial 155 for the police.
➤ Dial 110 for the fire department.
➤ Dial 112 for medical assistance.
Greetings and Culture
➤ Shaking hands when meeting is appropriate, and business cards are typically presented at the beginning of a discussion.
➤ "Welcome" in Turkish is "merhaba," and using it can demonstrate your respect for Turkish culture.
➤ Large companies usually have double-deck exhibits with hospitality lounges and mini-bars, though even smaller exhibitors typically offer some type of in-booth hospitality.
➤ Hot and cold beverages are typically served, along with light snacks. Turkish delight, a local confection, and small pastries are common treats.
➤ Never serve anything made with pork or pork fat to attendees, as it is forbidden for Muslims, which make up 98 percent of the population of Turkey.
➤ Alcohol is uncommon, and Turks typically don't drink alcohol during working hours. Exhibitors should ask permission from show organizers before serving alcohol.
➤ Hosts and/or servers can be hired through show management for in-booth hospitality.
➤ Turkish is the main language spoken, and a translator is needed in your booth. Show organizers sometimes offer Turkish interpreter services for a fee.
➤ Speaking English is a requirement for employment in the Turkish event industry, so many event professionals will speak some English.
➤ Signs and literature should be printed in both English and Turkish, as should business cards.
➤ Most import/export companies in Turkey employ English speakers.
➤ Istanbul is fairly conservative when it comes to trade show attire, with business suits being most common.
➤ Women may wear suits with slacks or skirts, but short skirts or bare skin is probably inappropriate.
➤ Because of the formality of Turkish trade show dress standards, piercings should be removed and tattoos concealed wherever possible.
Installation and Dismantle
➤ There are no labor-union restrictions in Istanbul. Some exhibitors bring construction teams and handle everything on their own.
➤ Show organizers typically offer booth construction services, though there is a variety of private contractors in Istanbul and pricing is relatively competitive.
➤ Booth designs need to be approved by show organizers prior to setup.
➤ Exhibits taller than a certain height will need approval from a structural engineer.
General Facts and Tips
➤ The climate in this region of Turkey is hot and humid in the summer, and cold and wet in the winter, though snow is infrequent. Spring and summer are mild and pleasant.
➤ There are many transportation options in Istanbul, including taxis, ferries, trams, and the Metro System, which includes public buses, subways, and trains.
➤ Religion and local customs are very important to the people of Istanbul. Respect for those customs will help build relationships.
➤ Istanbul has a vibrant nightlife with several famous nightclubs, but visitors should stay in the Bosphorus area of the city and avoid Aksaray, which is considered dangerous by many locals.
➤ Turkish cuisine is very rich in flavor with influences from Central Europe and Southern Arabia. Local specialties include kebabs, lokum, and baklava, but use caution when buying food from street stalls as they are generally uninspected.
Venues and Resources
➤ Tuyap Fair Convention and Congress Center has 322,000 square feet of show/meeting space, and is the oldest venue operator in the country, with several facilities throughout Turkey.
➤ CNR Expo has eight halls and almost a half million square feet of show/ meeting space.
➤ Istanbul Convention and Visitors Bureau: www.icvb.org
➤ Turkey Official Travel Portal: www.goturkey.com
Rajeev Anand, director, TSI Displays Pvt., New Delhi; Brian Belanger, vice president, Exhibit Connections Ltd., Toronto; Erika Boelling, partner, GK+A International Exhibit Management Inc., Toronto; Mary Buffa, senior account executive, Skyline Exhibits, Mississauga, ON, Canada; Anselmo Carvalho, principal, Feira & Cia Group, Sao Paulo; Andrew Childers, VP Strategy & Communications, Green Park Global LLC, St. George, Utah; Arindam Dasgupta, deputy general manager, Insta Group, Mumbai, India; Monika Detemple, Director Sales and Marketing / International Projects, ExpoHouse International Stand Promocionais Ltda., Sao Paulo; Christopher Dorn, president, Idea International Inc., Tokyo; Ben Einer, president, international, EWI Worldwide, Hamburg, Germany; Gloria Guevara, executive director , International Federation of Exhibition and Event Services, Brussels; Tyler Johnson, international department director, Art Space Expo Services Co. Ltd., Shanghai; Oben Karatepe, CEO, Tasarimhane Yapi Dekorasyon Ltd., Istanbul; Shirley Li, general manager Shanghai office, EWI Worldwide, Shanghai; Kris Malmberg, sales and marketing vice president, Pico North America, Chicago; Gino Pellegrini, president, InterGlobal Exhibitions, Denver; Stephen Riches, vice president of global sales, Astound Group, Oakville, ON, Canada; Kadir Kaan Sekerciler, freelance B2B communication specialist, Istanbul; Kelli Steckbauer, director of global business, MG Design Associates Corp., Chicago; Jeannine Swan, president, Global Exhibit Management, Fort Worth, Texas; Liese Tamburrino, CEO, Green Park Global LLC, Las Vegas; Roberto Telleria, international sales and marketing manager, Skyline Exhibits, Orlando, Fla.; Jenny Town, general manager assistant, Skyline Exhibits, Shanghai; Xiaoyang Wang, general manager, Skyline Exhibits, Shanghai.