Dear colleagues, dear friends,

A belated Happy New Year to everyone, and a Happy Lunar New Year, and also “Gong Xi Fa Cai“. How fitting it is that 2023 is the year of the rabbit in China, as it represents both longevity and good luck. It is said that this is a year when sacrifices of the past are rewarded generously. I see that as a good omen for our industry!

As China has reopened its international borders, and travel between Hong Kong and the mainland has resumed as well, our industry breathes a sigh of relief. Shows have reopened, and even in the very first days after January 8, still before the New Year celebrations, shows were held successfully in Hong Kong and Mainland China, drawing the first crowds. Let’s be confident that infection numbers will go down fast, and that we will be able to leave the pandemic disturbance behind us as well here, in the last of the major exhibition markets globally that remained impacted for so long.

We were just discussing China’s prospects in Lisbon, at UFI’s first event of 2023, the sold-out Global CEO Summit. Thank you to everyone who joined us, it was another marvellous event, put together perfectly by our UFI team.

Being in Lisbon, I realised – again – how superbly valuable our UFI events are. They make sure we meet face to face, they keep us all connected, and the business opportunities and content are as always, first class. Over the next months, from March to June, there are our own regional conferences taking place all around the world – in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), San José (Costa Rica), in Doha (Qatar), and in Maastricht (The Netherlands). Please see all the dates in the calendar in this UFI Info, and make sure that you attend at least the conference in your region, and also do send some colleagues as well! We are really privileged to have our Regional Directors at UFI who are capable to run these events for us, and I want to thank them for all their work on this! UFI really is the only global trade association in the events industry that offers such a “golocal” events portfolio.

I am personally really looking forward to going to Malaysia in early March. I attended the last Asia-Pacific Conference in Toyko in 2019 at Tokyo Big Sight – it was the largest Asia-Pacific Conference yet. One year later, this was the first UFI event that we had to cancel because of the pandemic. It took place as a digital event in 2021. And last year, with international travel still hardly possible across Asia, UFI members in twelve countries across the region hosted events during “UFI Asia Pacific Week 2022”, allowing us to get back together in person on the country level. So we “pivoted” and adapted, but as we have seen around the world – in the end, the best format is the face to face conference. I look forward to seeing all our colleagues and friends from across the region, and especially many many colleagues from China in vibrant Kuala Lumpur! It will be quite the industry reunion !