Blogger: Nick Dugdale-Moore, UFI Business Development Manager
Next week I am heading to South America together with the UFI MD Kai Hattendorf to attend the 57th AFIDA Congress (Asociación Internacional de Ferias de América) which takes place in Santiago, Chile in Espacio Riesco, the country’s leading exhibition and congress venue and UFI’s first member in Chile.
AFIDA President Ricardo Baquerizo (Expoplaza, Ecuador) is looking forward to welcoming delegates from across the region: “We chose Chile as it is one of the markets with the fastest growth and development in the areas and exhibitions and events. Also the government are very active in offering support which helps to professionalize the sector, and this will be a great showcase for them.”
Chile is one of the most stable countries in Latin America both economically and politically, and has been for decades. It has the highest nominal GDP per capita in Lat Am, it is the first South American country to join the OECD and it produces 1/3 of the world’s copper.
The AFIDA Congress will take place alongside Expomin, which is organised by FISA and is the largest mining exhibition in Latin America and one of the largest in the world. Executive Director Carlos Parada Meyer asserts that: “covering more than 90,000 square meters, the 14th edition of Expomin will have 1,300 exhibitors from 35 countries, representing over 60% of the global market.Over the last 25 years we have hosted 600,000 visitors and help generate sales of USD $11 billion.”
Chile is also a very easy place to do business – often in Santiago (like in Buenos Aires) you can imagine you itself to be in a European city. And yet why is Chile not on many people’s radar – not only exhibitions but also in the wider business community?
The answer I guess is in the relatively small size of the economy – 41st biggest in the world just after Finland. However leading figures from the exhibition industry from across Lat Am are heading there next to try to change that.
Is Argentina reached a turning point?
We are also heading to Buenos Aires next week to meet with our representatives of the exhibition industry and Argentinian government. Due to the political and economic troubles of the last few years has been off the agenda of many international organisers. That may be about to change.
In just a few months since being elected in December 2015, President Macri has lifted capital controls, slashed crippling power subsidies and most importantly reached an agreement on the debt with international holdout creditors. Of course there are still many problems to face but this is massive news. Obama visited Buenos Aires last month and described Presdient Macri as a “man in a hurry.”
It is great credit to Macri that he has managed to do so much so quickly. At the meeting of our Latin American chapter in Milan only 5 months ago we barely discussed Argentina, which is after all the third largest market in the region. (and there were 2 Argentinians in the room… see page 11 of above link).
UFI as always will support the industry working through our members in Argentina, including AOCA, the Buenos Aires Convention Bureau, La Rural, Messe Frankfurt Argentina and Exposium America Latina.