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The fourth edition of Global Exhibitions Day generated huge interest this year as industry professionals from as far apart as Australia and Argentina, Norway and South Africa, driven and supported by the 41 partner associations, joined in with the June 5 celebrations. The huge number of participants testifies to the sheer size of the exhibition industry and the joint interest of industry professionals to promote it across the globe.

The four advocacy messages were central to many initiatives, as were the recently released global and regional data related to the economic impact of exhibitions, which underlines how important exhibitions are in contributing to total output, jobs and GDP.

As GED ended, the initial activities of industry professionals, companies and associations from around 90 countries and regions, were reported and monitored, further cementing the role of Global Exhibitions Day as the largest advocacy and awareness initiative of the exhibition industry around the world.

“GED is a perfect symbol for our industry – it’s a huge success that is based on teamwork, trust, and collaboration”, says UFI President Craig Newman. “No one can succeed alone in our industry. It is great to see everyone working in this industry getting involved and coming up with a range of interesting and unusual activities to promote exhibitions. Seeing the action unfold has made me feel proud to be a member of such an innovative and inspirational community.”

Part of what makes GED such an exciting initiative is the huge range of activities thought up every year by industry professionals (organizer, venues, service providers and others) all over the world. The promotion of exhibitions as an effective way of doing business, the career opportunities they offer and the global nature of them were particular focuses for many events and initiatives. This year again saw a growing number of company activities and industry association events and advocacy efforts aligned with Global Exhibitions Day.

“I am delighted that the success of GED19 has again served to raise the profile of our industry. It is an effective way of showing the world the economic impact and opportunities the exhibition industry offers. I would like to personally thank each and every one of you who joined forces for GED19 and provided all these outstanding contributions”, says Kai Hattendorf, UFI managing director and chief executive officer.

Based on the successes and learnings from the previous GEDs, the steering group had put a focus on enhancing the clear and consistent messaging around the world, to heighten the impact of the four core messages. These were picked up and transported globally—most notably the newly researched numbers tracking the Global Economic Impact of exhibitions that Oxford Economics produced for UFI with the support of SISO (Society of Independent Show Organizers).

With more industry players focusing the messages more precisely on specific target groups, the industry as well succeeded to take the joint messages further than in recent years. In addition, the new messages around the sustainable development initiatives the industry is taking took a front seat, especially those linked to the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.

Around the globe:

In Asia-Pacific, IEIA organized and coordinated several events in India, including a cleanliness (litter-picking) drive in Mumbai, the distribution of clothes and food to an orphanage in Jaipur, GED India awards, and a delegation meeting to discuss the advocacy campaign for the exhibition industry. For the sixth time, Macau hosted the UFI-EMD (Exhibition Management Degree), an education program during which industry instructors and experts lead onsite and e-learning sessions. In China, GICEC, Hangzhou Venue, Zhuhai Venue and Poly World Trade Center created videos including “Follow-me” videos. EEAA held a Leaders Forum and Conference and Global Exhibitions Day dinner in Melbourne, Australia, focusing on the theme of improving the environmental sustainability of business events and promoting careers in the sector. MACEOS in Malaysia produced a special media supplement to be published in the national media with the support from industry players. TECA held a networking meeting in Taiwan to discuss industry issues.

In Africa and the Middle-East, AAXO and EXSA organized an Exhibition Quiz and Networking Event in South Africa, to celebrate GED19 and the global exhibition industry, with refreshments and prizes. IIEC of Iran organized a ceremony with around 300 guests including trade fair organizers, associations and experts.

In Europe, as well as producing Voices of the Exhibition Industry messages, IELA organized an Event Logistics Horizon Project, a campaign for active data collection, with a view to boosting industry statistics and knowledge. Zagreb Fair organized an international conference entitled “Exhibition Industry – Disruptor or Disruptee?” The goals of the event included revealing the impact of trade fairs on economies, exploiting the potential of the industry and sharing knowledge and insights. Another conference was organized by AEFI in Italy, entitled “Cooperation and Sustainability: change drivers for Italian fairs.” The event included a debate by the AEFI president and vice presidents on the themes of sector legislation, economic development and the promotion of Made in Italy. Last but not least, UFI published a new report on initiatives that support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, sharing 20 best practice cases from around the world.

The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, UFI is the leading global association of the world’s tradeshow organizers and exhibition center operators, as well as the major national and international exhibition associations, and selected partners of the exhibition industry. UFI’s main goal is to represent, promote and support the business interests of its members and the exhibition industry. UFI directly represents around 50,000 exhibition industry employees globally, and also works closely with its 58 national and regional association members. For more info, visit www.ufi.org.

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