Blogger: Kai Hattendorf, UFI Managing Director

Vacation time has ended, and the global trade show calendar shows the beginning of another busy season. Despite difficult times in a number of markets, our industry is growing globally, proving the resilience of the trade show business model.

But UFI’s latest Global Barometer also proves once more one of the most common sayings in our industry – that trade show performance follows the developments of the markets they serve.

If we’re looking for growth, the US reports an optimistic outlook for the remainder of 2016. And there is Asia as a whole, still with China in the lead. Over the past weeks, we also published our annual report on the trade show industry in Asia-Pacific, showing that total exhibition space sold at Asian trade fairs increased by another 5.6% in 2015. With a 7.8% year-on-year growth rate of space sold India is showing the fastest growth rate in the Asia-Pacific region.

Data from hundreds of shows goes into these reports. The latest Global Barometer alone includes data from 56 countries, gathered from the UFI membership together with a number of leading regional and national associations who collaborate with us on delivering the best possible data.

Trends and megatrends take shape in the data

With regular research like this, we are able to support the global exhibition industry with vital trends and statistics that you, our members, can use when you plot your business strategies. And as we stay on course with research projects, we can also provide you with comparisons over the years, allowing for trends and megatrends to take shape in the data. For example, Asia’s venue capacity is set to exceed 7.8 million sqm by the end of 2016, and the number of venues operating in Asia this year will reach 207 – that is more than double the 100 venues that were in operation in 2004 when the rst edition of this report was published. In 2016, China will be home to 108 venues and more than 5.5 million sqm of gross indoor capacity. That represents more than 70% of total capacity available in the region.

Focus On Security

At the same time, we are constantly working on improving UFI’s research offers. For the Barometer, we have added a segment where we focus on what is keeping our industry awake at night. This time, we zoomed in on additional security measuresintroduced at exhibitions and in venues after the recent waves of terror attacks. A large majority of companies polled for the Barometer reports an increase in security-related activities. These vary from additional screening of visitors and exhibitors to additional information for attendees, controls onsite during events and occasionally checking lists of pre-registered participants in liaison with government institutions. It is particularly interesting to see the regional differences that the data shows here, revealing the different needs of organisers and attendees in different exhibition markets around the world. I recommend you take a look at it, I am sure that you’ll find valuable insights from a global view – as well as from the 12 core exhibition markets that we can now cover in detail.