Expatica's Madrid fair sees jump in visitor numbers

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Over 600 visitors were the number present at Expatica's second annual "i am not a tourist" Fair in Madrid Friday, 6 May at the Hotel Husa Princesa: a staggering increase in attendees and exhibitors since last year's fair hosted by Expatica Communications.

More than 30 businesses, clubs and organizations catering to expats living in Spain were on display, offering services and information throughout the day in an environment that blended together an international community with global and local businesses.

"Madrid is known as a holiday city, but not too well known as a business city," said Juan Antonio Pelaez of Madrid Emprende, whose sector of the Madrid city council offers office space with free lent for international businesses interested in setting up in Madrid.

International companies exhibiting services were a collection of businesses, from health care and insurance to investment and education. Those returning for a second time this year noted the increase not only of visitors but also on inquiries. "We've been approached by some interesting clients, like a lady who wants her bicycle insured because she takes her children around," said Dan Francis of Clements insurance. "We've had a lot of traffic, and will continue to support Expatica with their fair."

As visitors collected brochures, advice and candies as they passed from stand to stand, a number of ongoing workshops and presentations were in motion. Interdean, an international relocation services company, delivered a workshop on integration law. "We're a relocation company, but we had a conference about immigration law, and I think it was very positive," said Maria Cabezas. "It was great to see so many people here." Other presentations included "Invest successfully on the stock market" by Alex Spain, "How to find a job in a foreign country" by JobsInMadrid, "Expat Banking: problems and solutions" by Lloyds TSB, "International Private Medical Insurance" by DKV Globality, "The Online Learning Experience" by Laureate, "Buying Property in Spain" by Gimbrere Interntional Advocaten and "Expat Insurance Abroad" by Staysure.

[In addition to the record number of expats at the Madrid fair, exhibitors saw a number of Spanish locals in attendance. "There were Spanish people planning their trip abroad that wanted our advice," said Matthias Hentschke of DKV Globality about their workshop and visitor stand. "I didn't sell insurance today, but that was not the point. We gave to the people consultancy on how to take care of yourself when you go abroad. We helped build confidence."

Although the MiniSpeed Date and Wine Tasting were cancelled, patrons were busy mingling by the Bacchus Magerit wine stand, coffee bar and lounge area. Among the list of fun and entertainment were raffle giveaways, a Hatha yoga workshop, and "A Welshman in Madrid" stand up comedy.

Groups and clubs varied from the international Hash House Harriers to rugby sports and Democrats Abroad -- all creating a lively social atmosphere for visitors to take a break from visiting stands. "I've always been interested in seeing what's going on in the community and seeing how people are getting involved and integrating into the culture," said one American expat. "I love connecting with people and activities; it's always nice to know and see how we can make this place our home."

Post-fair comments from Expatica Communications included satisfaction in the change of venue to a more central location, as well as a successful welcome networking and introduction event hosted on the eve of the fair by Madrid Emprende at the Paseo de la Castellana tourism office. "The buzz was out that the fair was going on, and I think it was a good atmosphere," said Expatica Event Manager Danielle de Groot. "It was great fun again, and a good turnout. People had a good time."

The next "i am not a tourist" Fair in Madrid will be held Sunday, 24 March, 2012. If you are interested in becoming an exhibitor, please visit our sign up page.

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