Dear colleagues, dear friends, 

With June wrapping up, the first half of 2024 already lies behind us. On my way back from the European Conference a few days back, I scribbled down some notes, remembering some of the things I have experienced as your UFI President. The list got surprisingly long very fast – a testament to our association’s intense work, always encouraging us to be a part of it. 

Let’s start the amazing numbers around Global Exhibitions Day. I was not in the room nine years ago when the UFI leadership decided to launch this advocacy day for our industry in 2015. But I doubt they were counting on the success it has become, being a fixed date in our industry’s calendar and beyond and attracting awareness for our industry and businesses in more than one hundred countries year on year. By now, I bet we will all find some employees in our organisations whose decision to work in exhibitions or business events has been based on GED’s messaging and outreach. 

Then there are UFI’s events – always the most requested and utilised type of activity. From the Global CEO Summit in Amsterdam to the Asia-Pacific Conference in Macau, the MEA Conference in Kigali, to the European Conference last month in Zurich, the team has organised four major events to allow us to come together, to stay connected, to network, and to do business together. Looking at the reviews we all give afterwards (and therefore not just based on my personal positive view), these are and remain top-notch, and where one of the events hits a challenge, the team usually manages them very well. Plus, besides these main events, there have been smaller, specialised gatherings – see a UFI Day in Qatar, or a new series of monthly online meetings in North America, some similar ones in Central & South America, and informal gatherings alongside other events like CEFCO in China, or SISO in the US. Over the summer – and before the Americas Conference in Monterey in September, a UFI group will spend a day alongside the Summer Olympics in Paris, and we will have a delegation trip to Mumbai and Delhi. 

I am tempted to spend the same amount of space in this column now on the Next Generation Leaders group this year (I met them in Zurich – they are amazing!) and on the work that goes into the Awards (as finalists are selected, and the winners will be soon). Or on research and the power of the data in the Global Barometer (next edition coming up!), and on the growing success of UFI’s education programme (two UFI-VMA Venue Schools back to back in Shenyang and Macau, and so much more).  But – there just is not enough space. 

The UFI team recently surveyed our members in Europe, asking them about the value they get from UFI for their businesses and themselves. I am pleased to report that the work the team does is well aligned with the expectations that we, as members, have in our organisation. I think this overview of the recent activities serves as a good example for this – and I think the UFI team should be proud of this. So, while – hopefully – many of them, and us, will use the coming weeks to take some break and time off – I cannot wait to see what the coming months will bring! 


Geoff Dickinson, UFI President