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UFI Blog – The platform for the Exhibition Industry

UFI brings together those who build, maintain, and support the world’s market places: trade show organisers, venue owners and operators, service providers, and national as well as international associations of our industry.

The UFI Blog shares the voices of industry professionals around the globe. We invite you to become part of the community, supply your comments and share your ideas.

Enjoy reading – Your UFI team

December 2022 – A Letter from the UFI President

Dear colleagues, dear friends, For the first time, I am writing to you here as your UFI President. I am hugely honoured to be in this position, and I will ensure that I will work hard with the UFI team and the Board to bring back our industry from the challenges of Covid and other economic and geopolitical matters which have affected both our business and personal lives. I would like to express my thanks to Monica Lee-Müller for leading us during this last extraordinarily difficult year. We are going to be rebuilding our industry, revitalising it, reigniting the spark in our hopes and plans and dreams of us here and of all our staff across the globe. The resilience that is shown in our Trade Fair  and Business Events industry is strong and ultimately rewarding over many areas. This industry of ours is a ‘catalyst”, it is a wonderful way to bring people and communities and our hopes and aspirations together. To also point the way to giving people, especially our young, a road to a career, a change for the better, hope for the future and thousands of businesses creating new business opportunities. The shows of today are [...]

December 2022 – A message from the CEO

5 trends to watch in 2023 A lingering pandemic in China and elsewhere. War in Europe. Inflation rates not seen in a generation in major markets. Droughts, hurricanes, and record temperatures. It’s certainly not “business as usual” as we write the closing chapter for 2022. And 2023? Not all will be black and white, and economists are using endless types of grey in their outlooks for the next year. What will this mean for our industry? As every year, the UFI team has been listening and chatting with our members and industry leaders from all around the world to get their views on next year. Here, in five concise themes, is our view on what will shape the next 12 to 18 months. Doubling down on customer focus It is easy be become distracted by the big picture, but it is important to stay focused on what we do best as an industry: build and operate marketplaces. In the coming year, we will (re)learn what we applied in the recession 15 years ago – focus on the customers, make sure they have a successful show and make the right connections. We will learn from other industries, other colleagues, other geographies, [...]

Exhibition industry in Thailand posts strong rebound

11 new international trade shows in 5 months 24 October 2022: Thailand’s trade show industry has staged a strong rebound since borders reopened. Eleven new international trade shows were successfully launched between May and September of this year with supports from Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) in pursuit of advancing the “Thailand 4.0” national agenda. And to effectively take the initiative, the bureau also launched its “SPIRE Thailand” – a campaign that helps driving domestic exhibitions in key vertical industries. The 11 new international shows -- namely Asia Pacific Rail; Beyond Mobile; Future Mobility Asia; Maintenance, Industrial Robotics, and Automation (MiRA); Bio Asia Pacific; Cosmoprof CBE ASEAN; Building and Construction Technology (BCT Expo); Enlit Asia; Solar+Storage Asia (SSA); Manufacturing Transformation (MATRA); and ASEAN Tools Expo -- were to serve digitalization, intelligent automation, robotics, life sciences, healthcare, clean energy, and logistics industries. More than half of them were staged either by local presences of international organizers, or in partnership with Thai organizers. Two of which, MiRA and MATRA, were held in Pattaya – the new exhibition hub for the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). TCEB President, Mr. Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, said “The fact that we have 11 international exhibitions made their debut [...]

The Best Thing About Being Part of UFI’s Next Generation of Leaders

For the last Next Generation of Leaders (NGL) interview, I spoke with Justine Rabel, International Key Account Manager, Eventmaker and Monika Baro, Project Manager, VNU Exhibitions Asia Pacific Co., Ltd. Our first featured Joe Kowalsky, Show Director, Emerald X LLC, and the second featured Daniella Galante, Digital Marketing & Creative Manager, RX South Africa, Maria Victoria Piñeres, Operations Manager, Costa Rica Convention Center/Grupo Heroica Volio y Trejos S.A., and Jon Yahirun, Customer Success Manager, Clarion Events. I asked Justine and Monika what the best thing is about being part of this year’s class of UFI’s Next Generation of Leaders. Justine: “The number one thing is the ability to have a voice and platform to discuss the future of our industry. This includes meeting amazing people (in person and online) including fellow NGL’s, our mentors, and the UFI team. These are people who truly care about the exhibition industry.” Echoing Justine, Monika agreed that having a platform and voice to be able to discuss the future of the exhibition industry has been a great experience. She said, “The best thing about the NGL program has been meeting people with a similar passion and a clear sense of purpose. It wants me [...]

5 Things I’m Looking Forward to at UFI Global Congress

The 89th annual UFI Global Congress is three weeks out, and I am excited to be among the contingent of the North American delegates. Hosted by Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre (OCEC) in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, this year’s Global Congress is the first in 10 years to take place in the Middle East. Oman is a diverse nation, situated on the Arabian Peninsula, and rich in both history and culture. The members-only event will be held 14–17 November 2022. There’s still time to register, and entry visas are not required from the U.S. and 103 other countries for stays less than 14 days. What am I most looking forward to? Here’s my top five. 5. UFI Sports Club. At 6:45 a.m. on Tues., Nov. 15, UFI is offering a wellness option for Global Congress delegates. It’s the ideal way to break the ice and get to know your industry peers. Join the running club for a collective morning jog, or a Pilates class, whatever your fitness level! It’s a great way to meet people with like-minded interests, to spend time outdoors and to see the neighborhoods and city. I’ve participated in the UFI Running Club around the globe, and [...]

November 2022: A message from the CEO

Dear colleagues, and UFI members, It is almost time to pack for Oman. I’ll be adding a stop-over in Egypt on the way, to make it to COP27 in Sharm el Sheik for the United Nations’ Global Climate Conference. On 11 November, our industry will take the stage again at COP27 to give an update on the “Net Zero Carbon Events” Initiative. What began as a gathering of interested industry stakeholders from UFI, ICCA, AIPC and the Scottish Event Campus has now become a global industry movement, hosted and facilitated by the Joint Meetings Industry Council. In Egypt, we will present the roadmap for the global events industry to become net zero carbon by 2050– a roadmap that is now backed and developed by more than 400 businesses from across the events industry, namely from  the exhibitions sector. This is the result of collaboration and persistence. The report, “Finding the Future, Together”, was published in the US - a multi-year collaboration of 14 interested parties, including UFI and its members and partners like Informa, RX, Emerald, IMEX, Freeman, GES and SISO, as well as other players from the US. Full list here in the report: https://www.ufi.org/archive-research/finding-the-future/). The report consolidates and [...]

November 2022 – A letter from the UFI President

Dear colleagues, dear friends, This is my last column in UFI Info as your President. But – there is still a lot to report and to share, before I will hand over the Presidency at the end of our Congress in Oman to my friend and colleague Mr Michael Duck. Last month was special to me, as I could – finally – attend my first industry meeting outside of Hong Kong again, after 33 months, now that the compulsory hotel quarantine  requirement for my home base has ended. I was thrilled to travel to Singapore for the first ever Asia CEO Summit that UFI jointly organised with AEO, SACEOS, and SISO. Together, the four associations were working to create an event where show organisers both from the East and the West could meet, exchange, and learn from each other. While this first edition still had to deal with patchwork travel regulations across Asia, I am confident that it will grow over time. Addressing such issues is and remains a core challenge for our industry advocacy work in the region. UFI and SACEOS took the project lead among the four partners to organise the “Joint Leadership Summit”, a dialogue between our [...]

How Do We Communicate the Fun Factor Working in the Expo Industry?

The UFI Next Generation of Leaders (NGL) Recipients Monika Baro, Project Manager, VNU Exhibitions Asia Pacific Co., Ltd, Daniella Galante, Digital Marketing & Creative Manager, RX South Africa, Joseph Kowalsky, Show Director, Emerald X LLC, Maria Victoria Piñeres, Operations Manager, Costa Rica Convention Center/Grupo Heroica Volio y Trejos S.A., Justine Rabel, International Key Account Manager, Eventmaker, and Jon Yahirun, Customer Success Manager, Clarion Events will present their findings and recommendations for the exhibition industry to attract and retain talent in their “A New Talent Narrative” at the upcoming UFI Global Congress. I spoke with three of the recipients (Daniella, Maria, and Jon) last week about the process of developing their highly anticipated session and what to expect. Maria began the conversation, “It’s been a lot of fun, interesting and challenging – deciding on a topic, conducting research, and seeing if our hypotheses run true, or not. One thing we’ve all realized is that going forward, change in our lives and the industry is a constant and is here to stay. We will have to adapt to survive. One of their original hypotheses was that having few academic designations for the exhibition industry in universities across the world was a negative. [...]

October 2022: A message from the CEO

Dear colleagues, dear UFI members, The next weeks will be busy for the UFI team as we prepare the Global Congress, finalise research projects, and work with colleagues at JMIC to have the “Net Zero Carbon Events Roadmap” ready in time for COP27, the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt. You will find updates on these projects and activities in this UFI Info. In parallel, the regular work at UFI continues, and we are adapting as your industry association to meet your evolving needs and challenges. You might have seen that the UFI leadership has agreed to expand the UFI team and bring in two additional colleagues, who will focus on advocacy and content– areas where we have increased our involvement. UFI now has, metaphorically speaking, “seats at the table” in projects and activities with organisations like the UNFCC, the OECD, and ISO. These new colleagues will allow us to give the necessary attention to these demands, and to share this work in a better way with you, our global membership. At the same time, we are of course reviewing our activities, and reducing what is no longer necessary. One good example is our work [...]

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