Lucia Palacios, the Commercial Promotion Coordinator for VESTEX, the Apparel and Textile Association of Guatemala is part of The Future Ahead, a panel discussion during the UFI Global Congress on Tuesday, November 17 at 12:20pm (Bogota, Colombia time).

Guatemala’s exhibition industry is comprised of mostly association shows with a few commercial enterprises producing proprietary expos. VESTEX, an UFI member joined the associationfor exposure to international exhibitions and the high level of educational offerings – both of which are not easily available in their country.

VESTEX represents one of Guatemala’s largest export industries, apparel and textiles. Like so many shows around the world, their 2020 exhibition was postponed until 2021. They also exhibit in a number of US shows, including the twice-yearly MAGIC shows in Las Vegas – whose physical expos have also been cancelled this year.

The majority of their sector’s exports (USD $1,640 million annually) are to the US, so actively marketing and selling to US retailers remains a priority. This includes utilizing industry trade shows as they are amongst the most effective sales channels for their members. Fortunately, two of their largest clients, Walmart and Target have stayed open throughout the pandemic, but even so, exports are still down 16 percent year-over-year.

Virtual business meetings and webinars have helped take up some of the slack from the postponed show, but this is an industry, “where a virtual exhibition is not an option as buyers want to touch the fabrics and clothes as well as try out machinery.” Lucia said, “Our show typically includes the fully integrated supply chain with about fifty percent of exhibitors coming from outside of Guatemala. About 12% of our visitors are international and even more are from Latin America.”

With events in Guatemala presently limited to no more than 50 people, VESTEX has been trying to stay connected and help their members’ factories be flexible in today’s economic crisis, stay in business and maybe, even grow.

Hear more about the future of exhibitions from Lucia and the other panelists, Edward Kelly, CIEC WTC, Mexico and Milena Palumbo, GL Events Brazil on Tuesday, November 17 at 12:20pm (Bogotá, Colombia time). Click here, to view the full programme.