Dear colleagues, dear friends,

This is my last column in UFI Info as your President. But – there is still a lot to report and to share, before I will hand over the Presidency at the end of our Congress in Oman to my friend and colleague Mr Michael Duck.

Last month was special to me, as I could – finally – attend my first industry meeting outside of Hong Kong again, after 33 months, now that the compulsory hotel quarantine  requirement for my home base has ended. I was thrilled to travel to Singapore for the first ever Asia CEO Summit that UFI jointly organised with AEO, SACEOS, and SISO. Together, the four associations were working to create an event where show organisers both from the East and the West could meet, exchange, and learn from each other. While this first edition still had to deal with patchwork travel regulations across Asia, I am confident that it will grow over time.

Addressing such issues is and remains a core challenge for our industry advocacy work in the region. UFI and SACEOS took the project lead among the four partners to organise the “Joint Leadership Summit”, a dialogue between our industry, government officials from the region, and the regional industry associations. I was glad to meet Mr Alvin Tan, Minister of State for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore. The sessions led to a declaration that stakeholders across the region will work on five policy issues to drive our industry’s development – you’ll find out more information in this UFI Info.

One of the policy issues is sustainability, which brings me to the other main update I want to share with all of you: Just days before our UFI Congress, the “Net Zero Carbon Events” Initiative will be on stage at COP27 – the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference in Egypt. Mr Kai Hattendorf, UFI Managing Director/CEO will be on site to represent UFI and be part of the team that introduces our industry’s “Roadmap to Net Zero”. When I began my presidency in Rotterdam, I called on all of you to act on the climate challenge, and to get involved. Today I can thank you for answering that call: More than 400 organisations in our industry are supporting the “Net Zero Carbon Events” pledge. The roadmap is the result of a global, inclusive, industry collaboration, and it guides us with tools and targets as we go forward. Now, eight work streams are already defined and projects teams have started work on the implementations. I am sure we will get the latest from COP27 when we all meet in Oman later this month!

Let’s celebrate this milestone, and many others, in Oman this month.

Safe travels to Muscat, everyone – I am so looking forward to seeing you all there!