Dear colleagues, dear friends,

We are a few days out from our European Conference in Zurich. The content looks promising, and I personally am especially looking forward to meeting face to face with this year’s group of our Next Generation Leaders, having chaired the selection jury.

I want to put a spotlight today on the colleagues who work with me in the Executive Committee and Board of Directors and on the work that the UFI team puts into these meetings. We will meet in person again in Zurich as well. Since joining these leadership groups a few years back, I have become accustomed to well-prepared meetings, with clear agendas, concise and precise information, and – last not least – room to review and discuss. It goes mainly unnoticed, but by the time our members and community get together for the welcome reception at these events, we are already a day or more into them from the perspective of the UFI leadership and team – with these meetings as well as hours of programming for the Associations Committee and the various working groups.

The fact that this all moves along quietly and calmly is a sign that our association is in good shape, and that the rhythm of these meetings – 4 for the ExCo, 2 for the board each year and with our annual General Assembly at the Congress – serves us all well. As the leadership, we can steer and guide and support the UFI management in the evolution of our organization, and come to the right decisions about evolution and changes.

One example of this is UFI’s new membership fee model. The conversation around this began just ahead of the pandemic, and was picked up again as our industry re-started. Over 18 months, we discussed models and approaches between leadership and management, and worked with the UFI team to find an excellent and much simpler model for the future. You all passed it in Las Vegas with no single vote against. Next month, as we begin the financial year 2024/25, it will take effect. In my view, this has been a most critical step for UFI to remain future-ready.

Besides these long-term issues, the leadership also deals with the recurring annual tasks – in Zurich, we will select the 2026 Congress host, and the 2026 President, and pass the budget for the next financial year that will lead us into the UFI centennial. We will review and preview recent and upcoming UFI events, discuss research projects and UFI’s growing education portfolio. And we will have a focus on advocacy – with an initial report on this year’s Global Exhibitions Day, just a few days after it has taken place in its ninth year, really an annual highlight of our work.

And while this has become a bit of an “internal” column, let me end by highlighting the fact that May and June will see not one but TWO editions of our UFI-VMA Venue Management School taking place – while the first post-pandemic edition in Mandarin in Shenyang is behind us, the first English language course will take place this month in Macau. Congratulations to all the participants who successfully complete the course!


Geoff Dickinson, UFI President