Dear colleagues and friends,

The Power of collaboration and leadership has become very apparent in our industry during the COVID-19 crisis. The industry has aligned itself around one issue – the safe reopening of events!

This has put the focus on the importance of advocacy within and for our industry. Let’s face it: For the most part, many players from our industry saw little need for advocacy in recent years. Business was going well, with economies growing simultaneously around the world.

However, the current pandemic shows us that we have more work to do to prove how crucial events are to local and national economies and businesses, and as a driver of employment. A consistent theme during many of the webinars and discussions has been that our industry needs to speak with one voice: together, we need to share the same messages to educate, advocate and clearly demonstrate the leading and driving role our industry plays in the global economy.

Day by day, the news is more positive, with many countries now allowing events to reopen. Much of this has been achieved by the dedication of our industry advocates and colleagues all around the world, most of them members of our global UFI community. We should all thank each and every one of them! They have taken the lead in educating our local and regional governments on both the role the industry plays as an economic driver and on how to host events safely and by minimizing any risk. Those events have helped many small and medium sized companies to reopen and get back to business. When life returns to whatever the “new normal” will be, we need to continue this advocacy and build on what we are learning right now.

At UFI, we have been investing and acting on advocacy consistently in the past decade; be it through aligning messages in the Associations Committee, or through the EEIA – our joint presence in Brussels at the seat of the European Union. In addition, we have also been creating much noise and global presence through Global Exhibitions Day that we launched with our global community five years ago.

Thanks to all this collaboration and our network, UFI has been able to move fast in recent months. With the UFI Global Framework, the Good Practice Guidance we developed with AIPC and ICCA, and emerging standards like the “All Secure”, we are well aligned across the exhibitions and conferences sector to secure our “license to operate” again. And we are happy and eager to share our material and messages with everyone advocating for our sector – like the GoLIVETogether initiative in the US, of which UFI is one of the founding partners, or through Groups like JMIC – the Joint Meetings Industry Council. You can play a part in this advocacy… here is one last reminder that the call for candidates for the UFI Board of Directors is closing on 15 July. There is still time to send your candidature to UFI.

I am again encouraging our industry’s female leaders to step forward and help drive the future of our industry.

Best regards,

Mary Larkin, UFI President