UFI’s General Assembly has reviewed 12 months of activity

12 November 2019

UFI members from over 50 countries met today in Bangkok (Thailand) to review UFI’s work throughout 2019 and confirm plans for the year ahead. The 2019 UFI General Assembly preceded UFI’s Global Congress, “Platforms of Trust”.


With over 550 registered participants from more than 50 countries, this year’s event in Bangkok is the largest in UFI’s history, matching the record number of attendees at the Shanghai (China) Congress in 2016.

Chaired by UFI’s 2019 President, Craig Newman, the General Assembly highlighted an array of new initiatives supporting UFI’s global membership in around 90 countries. Once more, membership has grown steadily this year and – for the first time in the association’s 95 year history – exceeds 800 member companies.

Craig Newman, UFI’s 2019 President comments, “Reviewing the past twelve months, I feel proud – proud of the achievements and developments UFI has seen. For me, three things stand out from all the work around the world: UFI’s focus on collaboration, the development in UFI’s smaller chapters in Middle East/Africa and Latin America, and UFI’s research work.”

Newman continues: “UFI is unique – we have more than 50 national and international exhibition industry associations as members. We work with and for our members. UFI does not compete with national associations. We don’t run national chapters. We work together. Because together, we are stronger! This year, we have signed an agreement to take these collaborations one step further, to the global level – the Global Alliance with AIPC and ICCA. As the business models for exhibitions and conferences today overlap, we can learn from each other. Together, our future is brighter if the best global trade associations collaborate for the benefit of our members.”

Another year of growth in UFI Events

Around 1,400 industry professionals attended the broad array of UFI events held around the globe, from the “Global CEO Summit” in London (UK) to the “UFl Global Congress” in Bangkok (Thailand). The number of delegates rose by approximately 8% compared to 2018, which was also a record year.

UFI’s Global CEO Summit, the exhibition industry’s annual curtain-raiser event, kick-started a year that saw two global events, three regional conferences and two topical meetings worldwide, with many informal meetings and gatherings as well.

Following plans to promote activities in the Middle East and Latin America, UFI’s Middle East / Africa Conference became the largest ever designated regional exhibition industry conference in MEA, taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

With UFI’s Global Congress returning to Bangkok this year after a successful edition in 2004, the association is putting the spotlight on the largest trade show market in ASEAN. According to UFI research, in 2018, 640,000 sqm of trade show floor space was sold in Thailand, an industry incerase of around 4 %.

Global economic impact, regional Latin America report added to research portfolio

UFI delivers regular research insights on global, regional and topical themes, and the association’s activities in this area continue to evolve. The size and scope of UFI’s research available to members have grown significantly in recent years and is now considered world-leading. To facilitate access to research, the association has relaunched their research portal.

UFI and Explori published a third report about in-depth reviews on participant expectations with regards to show organisers and venues. Including data from over 13,000 trade show visitors globally, this is the most extensive study of its kind. Once more, this Global Visitor Insights study received support from The Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO).

UFI released the Global Economic Impact study. Produced with Oxford Economics and supported by The Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO), the report provides both global and regional data on the total economic impact of the exhibition industry, most notably in terms of economic output, GDP (gross domestic product) and jobs. UFI has also established an agreement with Oxford Economics wherein any UFI member association can obtain a national number for a cost-base price, and any such country profile will be added as appendices to the global study.

On the amplifying issue of sustainable development, UFI released a report titled “The Exhibition Industry and the UN SDGs”, aggregating twenty case studies on projects in the exhibition industry which pay into the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

A UFI Report on Best Practices in Marketing adds to the portfolio of reports showcasing the winning and shortlisted entries from UFI’s award schemes. Each of these reports shares more than 40 respective case studies from around the world.

Two updated editions of UFI’s Global Exhibition Barometer were released as well as the annual update on market overviews for Europe (“Eurofairs Statistics”) and Asia/Pacific (“The Trade Show Industry in Asia”).

At the Global Congress in Bangkok, UFI will release two new studies:

Global Exhibitor Insights, produced jointly with UFI research partner Explori, will provide global trends on exhibitor experiences and expectations at trade shows. Based on a sample of more than 1,500 trade show exhibitors, the study showcases developments as well as threats and opportunities that lie ahead for the industry.

Furthermore, the Congress will see the release of the first-ever comprehensive overview of the trade show industry in Latin America, covering all the markets in this fast-growing region. Again in the context of supporting new markets, work on this groundbreaking overview has been a core project for the UFI staff in the regional office in Bogota (Colombia).

The text/image source: official website UFI

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