UFI’s Hattendorf reflects on the Global Congress Expert OpinionWorld

UFI’s Hattendorf reflects on the Global Congress in South Africa and the issues facing exhibitions

As we get closer to the dates of UFI’s Global Congress, the team around the world is busy preparing what is our largest annual event, together with help and support from many of you. The Global Congress is “our industry’s global meeting”, and once again we will welcome exhibition industry leaders from more than 50 countries.

This year’s Congress theme is “pressures and profits” and we will explore how our industry can maintain a growth rate that is faster than the overall global economy, while also discussing the disruptions that are coming our way and are already impacting our businesses. All of this will happen in South Africa, taking the Congress back to the African continent for the first time since 2003.

We have added more speakers to the programme over the past weeks – you will find the full rundown on the programme in this UFI Info, and I encourage you to join us, if you haven’t already booked your place. The Congress is also the time for UFI’s annual General Assembly, during which we review activity over the past twelve months. There is a lot of progress to report, but here, I would like to briefly highlight two core areas of activities where we have seen a lot of progress: research and advocacy.

In line with UFI’s strategy, we have put a special focus on improving and extending the UFI research and advocacy activities. Regular readers of EW will no doubt have seen updates on these issues reported in this magazine both in print and online. With regards to research, we have been able to expand the scope of the semi-annual Global Barometer, our industry’s flagship report – which this year also includes market profiles for Thailand and India.

We will continue to add more market profiles in future editions through efforts such as a new collaboration with our colleagues from the Exhibitions and Events Association in Australasia (EEAA). We have also tracked the status quo of the digitisation in our industry for the first time, introducing an index that allows us to compare different markets around the world. In parallel, regular research on the market developments in Europe (Euro Fairs Statistics) and Asia (UFI-BSG Report on the Trade Fair Industry in Asia) continues to provide us with annual updates.

Keep an eye out for new research focusing on exhibitor sentiment and on best practises around digitisation that will be released at the Congress.

Concerning advocacy, we have seen strong growth around our “Global Exhibitions Day” initiative. 77 countries and regions took part this year, and 40+ associations partnered with our project team to raise the profile of our industry globally. I would like to thank each and every one of you again for being active in this effort – it makes a huge difference! Planning has already begun for GED 2018.

Besides this global campaign, the UFI team is busy standing up for the interests of our industry around the world, in collaboration with many of our member associations, as well as within the JMIC framework of the whole business events community. Whether it is the US travel ban discussion, infrastructure investment debates, or standardisation initiatives like

ISO, we speak out to promote a favourable business environment for the exhibitions industry. All of this work for the industry is only possible due to the broad global UFI membership base. UFI members make our work possible by being a part of our association. Therefore, I am pleased to report that we continue to see strong interest in joining UFI from organisers, venues, and service providers alike.

Our global membership will again grow by around five per cent year on year, and I would like to extend a special welcome to all our new members who have joined in recent months

Tom Hall

Tom Hall

Editor, Exhibition World

Tom Hall

Editor, Exhibition World