Soon after the Second World War, the tourist board of Merano-Meran tried to revive what had once been a flourishing tourist industry. Among other promotional activities, such as the traditional steeplechase races and motor-rallies, it was thought that high-class philatelic exhibitions might help in bringing back the international flair of the past. In 1948 a first international philatelic exhibition was held, and it was so successful that it was repeated annually, for the following 21 years. Although these exhibitions were small by today’s standards, they nevertheless became important high-level events, and they attracted the greatest philatelists of continental Europe. The juries were composed of the leading experts of Italy, Germany and Austria. On 8 October 1954, the 7th International Exhibition of Merano-Meran was opened at the same Kurhaus where the Congress of 2004 will be held.