by Michael J. Shaprio | August 20, 2008

The current state of the dollar has turned the United States into a particularly affordable destination for many abroad. Planners can make the most of the timing, and offset the potential of lower domestic attendance, by targeting international participants. “Every show would love to see foreign buyers,” says Jerry Kallman, managing director of Kallman Global Consulting in Ridgewood, N.J. He offers the following tips for getting their attention. 

Participate in the International Buyer Program via the U.S. Department of Commerce. Through this program, the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service recruits qualified foreign buyers, business partners and sales reps to attend trade shows stateside. Shows must apply and pay a fee to be considered. For more information, visit

Get to know the relevant professional or trade associations in the markets from which you want to draw attendees. “Their support in getting the word out is golden,” Kallman stresses. 

Contact the country’s embassy for a recommended local travel agent who will organize a delegation visit. Be prepared to comp delegation leaders, arrange for translators, and organize a dedicated lounge or welcome party. 

Liaise with members of the foreign trade press who cover your industry. Provide them with well-written press releases that they can use for their event calendars. 

Print multilingual promotional material. Even a brief fact sheet can answer the basic questions and make attendees feel welcome.
Visit show counterparts in Europe, Asia or South America to form cooperative initiatives.