Dear colleagues, dear members,

I am writing this as the UFI team is wrapping up work on this year’s Global Congress. From your initial feedback, it was one for the history books. With around 500 colleagues from all over the world coming to Vegas, it is one of the biggest Congresses in UFI’s history. With 65 speakers, we had more voices on the stages than ever before. With the launch of the North America Chapter, it leaves a very special legacy. And with you, our members, voting in favour of our new membership fee scheme without a single “no” vote, you have agreed to a major change that makes the fee structure much simpler and fair for everyone. Thank you for that. Let me expand here a little about why we have opened a 5th regional chapter.

Previously, UFI has regional chapters around the world that serve our members in their home region – in Asia-Pacific, in Europe, in the MEA region, and in Latin America. In each of these regions, at least 5% of our global membership are based. As we have seen our membership numbers rise constantly across North America, this region now represents a vital, and growing, share of UFI membership. Right now, 7% of all UFI members are from North America, and more than 25% do business with this region. Responding to this, UFI is adding a fifth chapter – the North America Chapter.

Through this, we make sure that the voices and needs of UFI members from NAFTA countries Canada, the US, and Mexico are represented well in UFI’s governing bodies – like the Executive Committee and the Board, through the chapter leadership. And we can make sure to serve our members and the industry in the region better through the chapter structure and its corresponding regional office. Thank you and congratulations to Laura Purdy from the Exhibitions Place Toronto (Canada) for serving as the new chapter’s Chapter Chair, and to Pepe Navarro (Tarsus/Informa, Mexico) and Kim Carcone (Toy Association, US), as Vice Chairs!

UFI never runs national offices, or chapters. UFI does not compete with national exhibition industry associations, it collaborates with them and supports them. As the global industry body, UFI is a trailblazer for collaboration among industry associations – and has been for more than 20 years, with great success around the world.

More than 65 national and international exhibition end events industry associations are actually UFI members – including SISO and ESCA in the US, AMPROFEC and AMEREF in Mexico, and CAEM in Canada. And in Vegas we welcomed two more associations as members: EMECA (from Belgium) and AESDAC (from India). They are all members of UFI’s dedicated Associations Committee, which has launched and run initiatives like “Global Exhibitions Day” and industry advocacy.

As the global association for our industry, UFI has a unique value proposition – with our global community of members in almost 90 countries, we connect people, ideas, and projects across markets. All of you as members are all looking to engage, and grow in new markets – through insights, and partnerships. Through the North America chapter, we will be able to make better connections for UFI members from the region. And we can better assist and support members from other parts of the world in finding contacts and business partners in North America. In other words, we can be an even better UFI for you.