Blogger: Sergey Alexeev, UFI President
Some weeks ago I was standing in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and I was reminded of just how powerful trade shows can be.
The tower was constructed to welcome visitors to the World’s Fair 127 years ago, and it is known today as France’s national symbol. Without the impulse of the World Expo it would not have been built. To me, this shows how the exhibition industry can help to shape whole countries.
Exhibitions are everywhere – from the smallest market place to the world’s mega venues. In preparation for Global Exhibitions Day on 8 June, the UFI team has put together some fascinating numbers that describe us as an industry: Today, and on every day of the year, an average of 85 major trade shows are taking place in the economic centres of the world.
Globally, 260 million people visit major trade shows each and every year. They are good for business. But participants also make new contacts, and form international friendships. If we add up all the space that the major exhibitions allocate to their exhibitors, we reach a staggering 124 million square metres. That is the equivalent of 30,000 football fields. This generates a lot of business – visitors and exhibitors spend around €100 billion a year on and around exhibitions. And it means jobs – globally, 700,000 people get their paychecks through working with our industry.
We shared these numbers at the recent meeting of the UFI Executive Committee, where we also reflected on the Global CEO Summit in Munich, the UFI Asia Seminar and Sustainable Development Focus Meeting in Chiang Mai, the EEIA Agreement and the
UFI-SISO meeting in San Diego.
Personally, I am encouraged by the way our industry is developing. In San Diego I was impressed by the presentations and panel discussions. SISO Chairman Tony Calanca and Executive Director David Audrain highlighted the cooperation between UFI and SISO. This connection gives added value to our members: new possibilities to access the US market and develop a greater presence in the global market.
UFI and SISO have been working closely together for a number of years now. We agreed to continue to develop our cooperation and meet again at the UFI Congress in Shanghai in November 2016 and at the next SISO CEO Summit in Miami in March 2017 with joint leadership sessions.
The Executive Committee also discussed the first results of our five core projects that we have launched in order to develop UFI further. Among the first results that you will have noticed are the new website and the Next Generation Leadership Grant (NGL Grant).
Finally, I am pleased to see people are already signing up for our UFI Open Seminar in Europe, to be held in Basel from 20 to 22 June. I’m looking forward to seeing many of you there in person!