As I am writing this, the new coronavirus is creating uncertainty in public life as well as in our industry. I meant to write these lines about the challenges that we are expecting in the year and years ahead, as we have entered a new decade. But, right now, our industry is called to deal with this health threat. As government authorities in China are focusing on public health by shutting down long distance travel, banning public events, and prolonging the spring break holidays, we are seeing many exhibitions and events in China being postponed. Likewise, globally, safety measures are being implemented to prevent the spreading of the virus – as well leading to challenges and empty booths at exhibitions around the world.
We are facilitating information flows and updates to support our industry on this matter as we hope for a quick containment of the outbreak. Please be in touch with the team, and follow our social media channels for updates.
Also, as you know, this year’s Asia-Pacific Conference was scheduled to take place in Macau in early March, together with a Digital Innovation Forum. Of course, we always put the health and safety of our members and staff first. Like many of you faced with similar decisions, and after discussions with our hosts in Macau, we have opted to postpone these events to later in the year. As soon as we have clarity on how the situation evolves in general, we will share the new dates when we will meet for this conference.
At the same time, life and work goes on, and we are putting the finishing touches on the next edition of our UFI Global Barometer – which is based on data shared by close to 450 exhibition industry companies worldwide on the state of their business – polled before the outbreak, but still with valuable insights. This edition sees a growing number of markets where we as an industry are becoming more hesitant with projections. This dilemma makes it as important as ever to bring together the leaders and the decision-makers of our industry. We did that earlier this month in Rome at the Global CEO Summit, and will do so with the other regional conferences this spring in Latin America, in Europe, and – again – also in Asia as soon as possible.
As world leaders showed in their discussions at the World Economic Forum in Davos just a few weeks back, we are facing issues ranging from the spread of disease (the new coronavirus) to sustainability (cutting carbon emissions), from the climate crisis (the wildfires in Australia) to political unrest. All these topics are challenging for us, as the current outbreak shows all too clearly. We all need to find solutions that guide us toward the future in societies and economies, and in our exhibitions and events as well. Let’s work together to find solutions to the issues!