It took our face-to-face industry only two years to essentially recover from the most serious pandemic in more than a century. In addition, the industry has managed to deal with global inflationary pressures not seen in a generation. On top of that, we have faced new wars and growing geopolitical tensions. Despite all of those challenges, our industry has recovered and returned to growth mode. And as investor fantasies around the metaverse and virtual events imploded, there is no lack of investors willing to put their money into our industry and our core business model.
Besides the programme on the various stages, a lot was going on at our recent Global Congress in Las Vegas. Alongside all the networking and matchmaking, UFI’s working groups and chapters met, committees were in session, and all our leadership circles met as well as, of course, all of us in the General Assembly. I would like to highlight UFI’s work on advocacy here today, and how it ties into the work through our Associations Committee and the chapters.
Digital fluency, innovative ideas and more importantly a unique set of values are the characteristics that are embedded in Generation Z (Gen Z). They are driving the changes that transcend traditional norms and overcoming challenges to bring about societal shifts. Understanding Gen Z is crucial for companies, especially those in the MICE industry, as adapting to their preferences can make a difference in attracting top talent, staying relevant, and effectively engaging with this influential demographic.
I just met many of you a few days ago at our Global Congress in Las Vegas, and I hope you all had a wonderful week connecting with old friends and meeting new ones there. On stage towards the end of the Congress, I took up the mantle as the President of our association from Michael Duck. My thanks to Michael his great year as UFI President and his enormous commitment to UFI serving in many different roles for more than 20 years. His dedication to UFI is truly remarkable and appreciated.
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.
In today’s evolving business landscape, the role of the exhibition organizer has transcended beyond traditional boundaries. As the global economy advances through the post-COVID-19 era, organizers must prepare for the 'Future Global Agenda', which comprises environmental impact, biotech and advanced materials, digital and advanced engineering, and society and demographics. It is vital that exhibition organizers adapt to these agendas to ensure their continued success in building marketplaces and industrial partnerships.
Preparations are well underway for the first F-1 race in Las Vegas which takes place on The Strip (Las Vegas Blvd.) and adjacent roads. Grandstands are being positioned, roads on the route have construction, and traffic is impacted. Because it’s the first of at least 10 years of F-1, adjustments on the roads and freeways are constant.
I first met Julius Solaris, Boldpush, a consultancy and research company years ago on Twitter (now X). A few years later we met in person at an IMEX America in Las Vegas prior to both living in that city. At that time, he owned and ran Event Manager Blog, which included a private LinkedIn Group with over 350,000 members from around the world, where members interacted in multiple languages. (Yes, over 350,000 members!)
Dear colleagues, dear friends, When you read these lines, we will be four short weeks away from our Global Congress in Las Vegas. I am sure that this will become a most memorable event for each and everyone participating, and for many different reasons. For me personally, it will mark the end of my year in office as your President.
Dear members, dear colleagues, Ahead of our Global Congress in Las Vegas, I have had the opportunity to connect with our members and community in Asia, Europe, and North America in recent weeks – having been in Bangkok, Düsseldorf, New York. And when you read this, we will be in Singapore with a team, jointly producing the Asia CEO Summit, a collaboration between AEO, SACEOS, SISO, and UFI.