There is a lot of positive momentum right now regarding our industry’s recovery from the pandemic, even as we are faced with war: the days are getting longer, and spring is just around the corner in the northern hemisphere. At the same time, COVID-19 restrictions across Europe and North America are being rolled back as the Omicron wave has peaked – ending many long, dark months.
In most parts of the world, we have markets open again and shows running. When you receive this UFI Info, we will be in Dubai at the World Expo with a delegation of UFI members – the first of five (!) different face to face events and gatherings we are preparing and organizing for you between now and the end of June (see the events overview for details).
The data from the barometer backs us up: this year, globally, we expect our industry to bounce back to around 70% of the revenues we had in our record year 2019 – up a whopping 180% compared to 2021. By June, only 4% of everyone participating in the barometer fears they will not be able to run events, and more than 60% expect to have normal operations again. You can find more about the Barometer elsewhere in this UFI Info.
To stay with my metaphor, this rising sun will also shine a light on the challenges that we now face as we ramp up operations. One remains around advocacy for our industry. Business events drive the recovery and re-connection of industries, sectors, and economies – and we will continue to emphasize this point whenever we speak with policymakers. The new policy paper that we just produced and released with our colleagues from ICCA and AIPC is a valuable tool for conversations like these – let me encourage you to use it extensively yourself! You can download it here.
The second most pressing challenge is around talent and staffing. We lost many colleagues to other sectors over the past months, and not all of them want to return. We described this as one of our “5 trends to watch”. Then, UFI suggested we will be “well advised to re-think how we position our businesses and to write a new narrative focused on why a career in business events stands out.” So, we will walk the walk and talk the talk – and we have redesigned our UFI Next Generation Leadership (NGL) programme to do just that: the mission for this years’ programme is to redefine the talent narrative for our industry, backed by some of the global leading exhibition organiser businesses. Please share the information about the programme in our organization and encourage your best and brightest to apply for one of the grants – see www.ufi.org/ngl for more.
In closing for today, let me ask you all to extend a very warm welcome to our new UFI COO, Adeline Vancauwelaert, who joined the UFI team on 22 February 2022. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UFI CEO & Managing Director