Dear colleagues and friends,

The time has come for me to write my final column as UFI President. They say that time flies when you are working hard and having fun! And, I must say it has been an incredibly interesting, exciting and rewarding experience and one of the shortest years of my life.

It has been a great privilege to hold this position, and I hope my contribution as UFI President, and efforts to serve the exhibition industry, have been appreciated. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support throughout the year. Over the past twelve months, our association has continued to strongly support and serve the industry. It is important that UFI continues its sustained efforts of policy advocacy enabling our industry to reach out to governments in all markets to achieve the desired goals. To that matter, it pleases me to see the launch of the Global Policy Leadership Series .

I am particularly proud of what we achieved during the past twelve months. When I started my tenure as UFI President, the exhibition industry was facing extraordinary times with the COVID-19 pandemic having a profound and lasting impact on human life, the global economy and, in particular, our exhibition industry and all related industries.

During my time as President, I had four priorities: resilience, leadership, technology, and community. The pandemic has definitely taught us to think afresh and find ways to be more resilient. To keep businesses running, leadership has been a crucial asset. While technology and especially digital technology played a huge role in being connected. Unity means strength and connecting with the community is the key for exhibition industry to emerge more successful at international and regional levels. We need to ensure that we can easily stay connected as industry professionals and colleagues. For our future success, it is vital that our industry remains attractive. Exhibitions give opportunities for exploring new ideas, establishing partnerships and building a personal presence. I try to attend as many events as possible as it gives continued learning opportunities on how exhibitions are organised, how relationships are forged, what new technologies have emerged in the market, etc. The more I learn, the better position I am in to contribute to the industry.

So, I really look forward to seeing many of you in Rotterdam next month to enjoy a high-quality programme as well as meeting in-person. I’m sure nobody will want to miss out the first face-to-face UFI Congress post-pandemic!

During our Global Congress in Rotterdam, I will pass the gavel to Monica Lee-Müller, my successor. I wish her all the best. I had the honour to represent UFI with the support of an excellent and dedicated UFI team. I treasure the many new and stronger friendships and my list of memorable moments. Thank you colleagues as well as the Executive Committee, Board of Directors and the Past Presidents of UFI for your extraordinary support during these challenging times.

I hope to give back to UFI as I continue to serve UFI where I can.

Wishing you all the best for the future.


Best regards,

Anbu Varathan