Growth in attendance for operators from the United States, China, India and Russia; attendance from European countries was stable, with Germany and Spain again in the top spot, while new opportunities are opening up in Africa and East Asia. The 53rd edition of Marmomac confirmed its status as the barometer for the world market in the stone industry and related processing technologies as well as the heart of global trade in the sector. The role of Marmomac as a leading business platform is strengthened year after year thanks to an ever-increasing internationality. More than 60% of the 1,600 exhibiting companies were international. And out of 68,000 visitors arriving in Verona over the four days, 62% were international, compared to a 60% share posted in 2017. A new record was also set as regards the number of countries represented - up to 150 from 147 at the previous edition. Even countries sending business delegations involving top buyers and architects also increased, from 55 in 2017 to 65 this year. These facts and figures multiply opportunities to sign business contracts and explore new outlets for products. The results for b2b meetings at Marmomac generate a snapshot of the sector dominated by Made in Italy as regards added value, for processed materials and technologies alike. The reference markets indicated by Italian companies are still North America, China, India and Russia, although this year growing interest was also noted in terms of contacts with specialist operators from Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indochina. Within Europe, the stone trade is stable, while the business with Arab countries in the Middle East, Israel, South Africa, Brazil and Mexico has strengthened. As regards international exhibitors, exhibitors from Iran reported sold out for their unhewn and semi-finished blocks on display, taken in particular by Italian and German buyers. Companies in the Balkans area and Turkey were satisfied (overall attendance up by 20%), the latter present in strength despite the crisis affecting the Turkish Lira. “This edition of Marmomac”, said Maurizio Danese, President of Veronafiere, “once again achieved its objective of providing the world's natural stone supply chain with the most effective tool for its development. This is also thanks to the skills of such a leading international exhibition centre as VeronaFiere in promoting a manufacturing sector through creativity, culture and innovation. And in this context, collaboration with Institutions and trade associations was fundamental, in particular with the Ministry for Economic Development, the ICE Trade Agency and Confindustria Marmomacchine”. Success was also achieved thanks to the fine intuition of combining the b2b aspects of the trade fair with the world of architecture, design, art and luxury brands as a means of enhancing the functional and aesthetic potential of natural stone. This is summed up at Marmomac by “The Italian Stone Theatre”, the pavilion that narrates interplay between natural stone and Italian processing technologies, thanks to avant-garde installations by famous international designers. This exhibition space this year was welcomed institutional visits by Michele Geraci, undersecretary at the Ministry for Economic Development, and Mattia Fantinati, undersecretary for Public Administration. “Marmomac is the true heart of the international stone industry community and the thermometer for this market”, explained Giovanni Mantovani, Director General of Veronafiere. “Over the four days of the event, feedback from companies and buyers attending the show highlights very positive responses as regards business, which encourages us to be optimistic over the final balance for global trade at the end of the year. The 2018 edition also saw further growth in terms of operator quality, as well as of international arrivals, up by 2% of the total visitor numbers. Yet we are already thinking about how we can consolidate the network of inter-related events abroad: in addition to the Vitória Stone Fair-Marmomac Latin America in Brazil, we are also working on further developments in the United States, with TISE-StoneExpo Marmomac in Las Vegas, in agreement with our American partner, Informa Group”.