Dear UFI members, dear colleagues,

As we have rolled into 2023, the big story for our industry is the re-opening of China. Gong hei fat choy (恭喜发财) indeed, and may the year of the rabbit be the one where we see China leave the pandemic behind. Our industry is ready for it, and if we use the recovery rates in the other major exhibition markets around the world as an indicator, then we can expect healthy business there again in a few months.

We have covered the immediate reopening in an UFI connects session right before the holidays, and we are following the progress closely. If you want to be kept up to date, you can add your name to this form. Also, make sure you follow UFI on LinkedIn and other social channels for updates.

May this year also be the one where we stop defining our industry progress as “post pandemic recovery”. That was our 2022 narrative. This year, we are well advised to move on, and to build on the momentum that we see for our industry around the world. A few days ago, we released the 30th edition of our bi-annual Global Barometer, tracking the growth our industry expects around the world. Despite inflation, recession threats and other challenges some markets are already expecting to go beyond their 2019 peaks – what a sign of strength!

We will dive deep on the current issues, challenges, and opportunities in our regional UFI Conferences, taking place across the globe this spring. I am more than delighted that we will able to hold all these events again face to face. I am most looking forward to travelling – again – to Kuala Lumpur for the Asia-Pacific Conference. It will take place on 2 -3 March, and will be the first time since Tokyo in 2019 that we can bring everyone back together in this part of the world.

Speaking of Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia, I was there just last December as part of a trip across various markets in Asia-Pacific (see the reports in this edition of UFI Info) and our colleagues from MyCEB had organized an “UFI Expert Day”, bringing together the Malaysian Exhibition and Business Events industry for some global updates and local networking and discussions.

I witnessed an even more optimistic mood in Riyadh, attending and speaking at the Saudi MICE Forum in January. With the industry awaiting a national masterplan for industry development in the next years, it is poised to be an additional growth market is a growing Middle East region. The Global Barometer now features a country profile for Saudi Arabia as well (of course).

I am looking forward to seeing you in just a few weeks at one of our Regional Conferences in Malaysia, Costa Rica, Qatar, or the Netherlands!