Busworld Kortrijk showcases innovations in bus & coach industry to 40,000 visitors


376 exhibitors from 36 countries presented their latest innovations at the Belgian Busworld show. This was the last time the world’s largest bus and coach industry event was taking place in Kortrijk Xpo. Busworld will be held at the Heizel in Brussels within two years.

Busworld Europe in Kortrijk had kept growing over the years. It had become so successful that the organisers had to disappoint 70 would-be exhibitors due to lack of exhibition space: a shortage of 51,230 m2 to be precise. Even the pond in front of the 10 halls was used to accommodate exhibitors. The lack of exhibition and parking spaces is the primary reason for relocating the event to Brussels.

311 buses on display

The fair was founded in 1971 by Luc Glorieux as a very local event with 500 visitors and one hall, largely filled by Belgian bus manufacturers Van Hool and Jonckheere (now VDL Bus). Over the past decades, the trade show has become a great success, with 40,000 visitors and 376 exhibitors from 36 countries. There were 60 new exhibitors this year, and Turkey topped the list with no fewer than 61 participants.

A total of 311 buses and coaches were exhibited. No less than 22 Belgian companies had a stand at the show. Here you will find the list of all exhibitors and companies on the waiting list.

Towards zero-emission transport

“When we started organising fairs in China and other countries, our own show grew tenfold,” organiser Luc Glorieux told De Tijd newspaper. “Bus companies from those countries also wanted to exhibit in Kortrijk and visit. We also benefit from the emergence of alternative drives such as hybrid, electrical and hydrogen. In 2010, there were only diesel engines here. Since 10 percent of the buses are powered by electricity and 5 percent by other alternative energy sources, every bus manufacturer has to exhibit 15 percent more vehicles, which contributed to the show’s crazy expansion.”

Motivated staff wanted

Greener buses and coaches are indeed a hot topic on the show’s floor and in the presentations and activities taking place around it.

“We are evolving to zero emissions,” says Charlotte Engels, Manager of Belgian Automet which creates customised transport solutions.

“We will have to say goodbye to a single drive type for every application,” Engels told the newspaper Krant van West-Vlaanderen. “City buses, for instance, will be all-electric, while intercity buses will need hybrid solutions. For long-haul buses, I can’t imagine that the combustion engine will disappear right way.”

“In addition, I see that everyone is looking for motivated people. We are talking about drivers, tour guides, technicians, planners, administrative clerks, etc. We need more people, especially motivated people with fresh ideas, to grow the sector.”