Future focus for UFI 2019 European Conference in Birmingham


The focus of UFI’s 2019 European Conference in Birmingham (UK) this May will be on the future of exhibition organisers.

Registration for the event, which takes place 15–17 May, is now open.

Under a conference theme of ‘The Organisers’ Future’, the UFI debate will take up from last year where over 220 exhibition industry professionals from 35 countries attended the European Conference in Verona (Italy).

The conference will cover global opportunities from a European perspective, including sessions on the USA, China and Russia and UFI notes that trade wars and a turbulent global economic outlook mean organisers need to remain flexible and pragmatic in running and planning their businesses, while the rewards for those who do grow overseas can be great.

Issues raised in Verona, such as how the basic business model for organising exhibitions is changing due to the effects of digital/AI, the evolution of the exhibition format, as well as changing customer needs, will be revisited and there will be discussions based on the recent UFI/Explori Global Visitors Survey released in December 2018. The study is the largest of its kind and threw up some surprising results, with responses from over 13,000 trade show visitors across the globe.

Given that the Birmingham conference takes place just seven weeks after the nominal date for Brexit, it will be a timely opportunity to examine the UK’s position as a home base for leading global exhibition organisers and discuss any ramifications for businesses in the UK, Europe and beyond.

World-class speakers from the global exhibition industry and beyond will be in attendance, and delegates are promised also first-class networking in a relaxed and informal setting – from the state-of-the-art Vox Conference Centre to the Gala Dinner at the medieval Warwick Castle built in 1068.

“Birmingham will be our most important European event this year. It serves a crucial need for exhibition professionals from Europe and further afield to get together, take the pulse of the industry and discuss the issues of the day. The event has enjoyed double-digit growth year on year recently, and we’re working hard to deliver value for organisers, venues, and service providers,” said Kai Hattendorf, UFI Managing Director/CEO.

“We also made the decision to take the event to Birmingham after the UK announced its intention to leave the European Union. In this way, participants will be able to have their own, first-hand experience of a post-Brexit Britain, if the country does ultimately leave the Union in March 2019,” Hattendorf added.

UFI’s working groups will, as usual, schedule activities around the European Conference, and UFI’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors will hold regular meetings.

For more information and registration details, visit www.ufi.org/birmingham2019. Early bird rates are available until 15 March.

The UFI European Conference takes place in May each year and has previously been hosted in Verona (2018), Cologne (2017), Basel (2016), and Istanbul (2015).

The conference is open to UFI members and non-members.

UFI has scheduled three regional conferences for 2019: for Asia/Pacific in Tokyo (14-15 March), for Middle East/Africa in Dubai (8-9 April), and for Europe in Birmingham (15-17 May).