Art And Culture

New TIBF Venue May Hit a Snag

New TIBF Venue May Hit a Snag New TIBF Venue May Hit a Snag

By the end of Wednesday, (March 2), the deadline for preliminary registration at the 29th Tehran International Book Fair (TIBF), 2,447 Iranian publishers had registered to participate in the event.

Slated for May 5-15, this year’s TIBF will be held at Sun City Exhibition Complex in southern Tehran for the first time, IBNA reported.

A total of 334 children and young adult book publishers, 1,450 general books publications, 521 university presses and 142 educational publishers have registered in the first stage.

Based on the agreement between the Tehran Municipality (TM) and the fair organizers, Sun City, which is in the final stages of completion by the municipality, will be handed over to the TIBF officials before March 24.

Up until last year, the annual event was held at Imam Khomeini Grand Mosalla (prayer grounds) in central Tehran. However, due to the heavy traffic during the fair and the constant complaints from disgruntled residents living in the vicinity, it was decided to move the fair to a location far away from the city precincts.

With over 120,000 sq m of exhibition space, Sun City is located on the Tehran-Qom Highway, near Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA).

Last week, director of public relations and advertising committee of the fair Mohammad Hossein Motevalli acknowledged that the new venue is unfamiliar to the public - Sun City will be inaugurated concurrent with the TIBF opening - and due to its location on the outskirts of the capital nearly 30 km from the city, the possible lack of participants and visitors is a concern for the organizers.

The number of local publishers attending this year’s event so far shows a decline of 10% compared to last year. However this is not significant as the main issue is how the public will welcome the fair at the new venue.

 Promotional Activities

“We have considered some promotional activities to attract the public in big numbers through urban advertising as well as commercials on state TV and radio,” Motevalli said.

Cultural figures, publishers, exhibitors and experts in the field still doubt that there will be huge crowds rushing to the book fair like in the previous years. They say that a majority of the visitors usually comprise school and university students who visit the fair when they are free after class in the evening as the earlier venue was easy to reach via subway and other means of public transportation.

It will now take a long time especially during the rush hours to go up and down by car, taxi or bus to the new venue, particularly if the subway stations for Sun City and the IKIA are not ready by the time the fair opens.

In addition to advertising, the organizers should seriously think of the transportation solutions otherwise the first TIBF at Sun City will have few visitors, which surely is contrary to the goals of the exhibition.

Deputy of the book fair Amir Masoud Shahramnia has admitted that a decrease in the number of visitors is plausible; however, he believes presence of the residents of the suburbs of Tehran as well as the nearby suburban towns could compensate for the possible decline of the number of visitors.

 Transport Facilities

The location has been transferred in a bid to reduce the traffic congestion and air pollution in the capital which is home to 12 million people.

According to Mohsen Torkabadi, an official at the municipality, if Sun City metro station will not be completed in time, there will be buses and vans from three nearby subway stations of Kahrizak, Shahed and Haram-e-Motahar (mausoleum of Imam Khomeini) to shuttle  visitors to the fair. Also at the main squares of Tehran, more buses and vans will take people to and from the venue.

Held annually, the TIBF is a major cultural event where publishers from all over the world along with a large number of domestic participants take part to display their new titles in different subjects.