– There will be a shred of activity in the Forum area, NorwaysNorway’s premier congress area. Now it looks like a ghost town. That’s why we’re incredibly grateful that OTD Energy is really investing and providing gas until October. This will kind of be the start of life after the pandemic,» says Elisabeth Saupstad, director of tourism in Region Stavanger.
Important for tourism
The last year has been lead-heavy for Saupstad and his colleagues in the tourism industry. When they finally had a turn on tourism after the oil crisis in 2014, and with promising forecasts for 2020, corona caused an abrupt end to tourism. One infection control measure after another has caused the industry to be virtually dormant since March 2020. Now, however, the tourism director sees the light at the end of the tunnel.
– Fairs and conferences such as OTD Energy are incredibly important for both the academic communities and for the tourism industry in the Stavanger region. We have great faith that the activity will pick up in the autumn, and this year’s OTD looks set to be bigger than ever before. People are malnourished at getting out and meeting other people face to face. This is going to be amazing,» says Saupstad.
Huge ripple effects
OTD Energy, which runs from October 20. to October 21. in Stavanger, is set to become the largest trade fair for the oil, gas and energy industry in Scandinavia in 2021. The health authorities have signaled that all adults will be fully vaccinated during the summer, giving both the organizers and Saupstad great faith that the fair will actually become a reality.
– There tend to be around 20,000 visitors in Stavanger these days, and this is clearly helping to fill the region. Such events have enormous ripple effects, with participants who are here for several days – with all of what it generates in dining, hotels-overnight stays, trading and so on, says Per Morten Haarr, Congress manager in Region Stavanger.
The destination company has worked for a number of major and international fairs, congresses and conferences confirmed to the Forum area over the next few years. This applies to Nordic, European and international events in medicine and health, academia and energy. This represents about 15,000 hotel accommodation for 2022 and 2023.
Haarr is supported by Gjermund Dahl, hotel director for Clarion Hotel Energy. He may also look back on a tough year, but now he’s excited about OTD Energy’s plans for the fall.
– It feels very satisfying to work on something we actually think can be done. We who are working on this have now gained a new year in everyday life. We are very much looking forward to making the most of our house and facilities again, says Dahl.
More than 80 percent of the fair’s total area from 2019 has already been ordered. Now OTD Energy is approaching full halls.
– In addition, we will fill DNB Arena with 5,000 guests and create the largest event of all time at Clarion Hotel Energy. This shows some of the ripple effects of OTD Energy 2021, says Trade General Torbjørn Olufsen.
According to him, more news that creates added value for the participants and ripple effects for the region will be released continuously throughout the spring. The tourism director of Region Stavanger is pleased.
– OTD Energy can quickly become that milestone and the event that shows that we are finally on our way back to an almost normal everyday life again. It is also important with this type of activity to get the wheels back up and running in the tourism industry! The day we can welcome people back, I’m going to stand with tears of joy in my eyes! A long-awaited moment, Saupstad concludes.