The 43rd edition of the Kastoria International Fur Fair, the top annual event for the local fur fashion industry, kicked off in northern Greece on Thursday, as local furriers turn to new markets struggling to survive after the financial crisis.
During the four-day event, 123 exhibitors from 13 countries will explore business opportunities with buyers from 43 countries.
Kastoria, a city of some 35,000 residents, 350 kilometers northwest of Athens, has a long tradition in the art of processing of fur and trade for over 600 years. More than half of the locals still make a living through fur trade.
In recent decades the city's signature goods have been exported across the world, but the downturn of Greek and international economy has taken a toll also on Kastoria's furriers.
According to official figures of Kastoria's Fur Association, the main organizer of the fair, in 2017 turnover plunged to 20 million euros (24 million US dollars).
In 2014 it stood at 105 million euros, in 2013 in over 300 million euros and in 2007, before the start of the international financial crisis, it was estimated at 450 million euros.
The majority of Kastorian fur products are exported. In 2012 revenues from exports totaled 240 million euros, while a year later had dropped to 150 million euros.
For the past two decades two thirds of Kastoria's fur garments were exported to Russia, but demand has dropped due to economic woes.
Greek furriers are seeking new opportunities in new markets, like China, South Korea, India and Iran, Yannis Korentsidis, President of Kastoria's Fur Association, told Greek national news agency ANA-MPA. [Xinhua]