Pictured L-R: GES team members lobbying on Capitol Hill as part of Exhibitions Day and GED: Julie Smith, Joe Miller, Josie Caldwell, Cindy Covington and Femke Morelisse.
The third annual Global Exhibition Day, coordinated by UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, celebrated the exhibition industry and highlighted its positive impact on jobs, business, innovation and local investment across 85 countries and regions on June 6.
Both Freeman and GES ran activities globally showcasing the broad range of career activities in the industry. The International Association of Exhibitions and Events invited its members to travel to Washington, D.C. for a day of advocacy talks with parliamentarians and their staff. IAEE’s events were part of their fifth Exhibitions Day, where exhibition professionals and industry members come together to foster relationships and build awareness with federal legislators and other policy influencers on Capitol Hill.
“I was with the California contingent, and we met with staff in the offices of Senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein, and staff in the offices of Representatives Lou Correa, Dana Rohrabacher and Ed Royce,” says Julie Smith, CEM, CTA, GES senior vice president, exhibition sales, based in GES’ Cypress, Calif. office. “We focused on the issues of online booking scams and the bills that have been introduced to address the issue of hotel poaching (H.R. 2495 and S. 1164). We also discussed industry security issues, and how IAEE and its membership, along with other industry organizations, have aligned with the Department of Homeland Security to develop the Exhibitions and Meetings Safety and Security Initiative.”
IAEE members also discussed advancing the mission of the Visit U.S. Coalition, and promoting policies that enhance global travel to the U.S. for business and tourism. Additionally they addressed aging airport infrastructure, and the need for improvements to compete with other countries. Smith felt the groups were well received.
“The staff with whom we met were very engaged, and we left feeling optimistic that our messages had been heard,” Smith says. “Exhibitions Day provides a unique opportunity to see how government works, and how we can make a difference in advocating for our industry. I enjoy partnering with the other members of the team, discussing issues from our own unique viewpoints. Whether you are a supplier, a show organizer, represent a venue or a destination, Exhibitions Day is a valuable experience and important effort.”
She adds, “This was my fourth Exhibitions Day. I think each one gets better—we have more participants; more of the participants are comfortable carrying our messages and making the ‘asks.’ IAEE provides better tools every year…this year they introduced an app that housed our appointments, data on the legislators and staffs, the bills and their sponsors, talking points, an attendee list and other information like state-specific industry facts. And because of our repeat visits to the Hill, and those of other industry groups, we are making strides in educating government officials about the economic power of our industry.”
This year, GED’s advocacy campaign united 41 GED partner associations and included a wide range of activities, both on-site and online, promoting exhibitions as business platforms, as well as highlighting opportunities for career and business development. The events were put together by international and national organizers, venues, service providers as well as national and regional associations.
“I watched the action unfold throughout the day from my home country Italy,” says UFI President Corrado Peraboni. “All around the world, our industry stood up to be noticed–and we succeeded! I am especially pleased to see the prominent support from ministers in national governments who shared their understanding of how important exhibitions and business events are for their economies and citizens.”
The different organizations celebrated GED in many varied ways. In Australia, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment endorsed GED in a video message to the industry. The Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia organized the 2018 Global Exhibitions Day and Leaders’ Forum Dinner, and launched a talent acquisition campaign called “A Career for Life.” Pictured right is the GES team in Canada celebrating GED.
The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau ran an “Exhibition Industry Forum” focusing on the theme of change and the Indian Exhibition Industry Association organized meetings with ministers and government officials from various states to raise awareness of how important the exhibition industry actually is and “IEIA Youth CONNECT” used interactive sessions to reach out to students from MICE/event management institutes to encourage them to pursue a career in the exhibition industry.
The Association of African Exhibition Organizers put together the first edition of “Exhibition Games,” with 44 contestants taking part in a friendly contest. The association also hosted an open conversation between organizers and suppliers to address industry issues. The Doha Exhibition and Convention Center in Qatar adjusted the lighting of its roof sun-wells to reflect the name of the event (“GED18”), creating a unique visual over the course of the week. The Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company group gathered and linked up staff at their different venues from around the world to demonstrate their connectedness. Pictured right is a GES office in the Middle East celebrating GED.
In Europe, AUMA, the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry shared the findings of national research, backed by the latest data, to demonstrate just how important the exhibition industry is for the German economy. AEFI, the Italian Exhibition and Trade Fair Association hosted a government advocacy event in Rome. AFE, Spain’s Event Planner organization also scheduled government meetings. UNIMEV, The French Meeting Industry Council, hosted the third Annual Global Exhibitions Day Run in Paris. Pictured above is the GES team in Sweden on GED.
The Russian Union of Exhibitions and Fairs organized the seventh Russian Exhibition Industry Conference in Moscow. EXPOCENTRE Moscow assembled a display of vintage exhibition posters in the Vystavochnaya (exhibition) metro station.
In Latin America, AMPROFEC, the Mexican Association of Professionals in Fairs, Exhibitions and Conventions hosted events all across Mexico. Corferias, Colombia gathered 510 industry professionals in one GED picture and now holds the lead in the global #GEDNumberChallenge.
Preliminary data analysis shows that joint initiatives by the industry reached a record number of people, both face-to-face and on social media. Early numbers suggest that the number of GED events and projects has risen again this year. In the coming weeks, UFI’s media partner Exhibition World, together with the UFI team, will review all reported GED activities, and select best practice examples to be shared with the rest of the industry. Winners will receive the “GED Award” in the following five categories: Most Creative Activity, Highest Profile Online Activity, Biggest Scale Physical Activity, Industry Impact Award, and (new this year) the Talent Promotion Award.
“It has once again been absolutely amazing to see our industry united for this cause,” says Kai Hattendorf, UFI managing director/CEO. “While the whole UFI team around the world will really need some sleep now, it’s been an absolute pleasure to support our global exhibition industry community in this way. When we started GED in 2016, we were encouraged by the strong support we received. Now, just two years on, GED has helped all of us make a real difference in obtaining tangible recognition for our industry. So a huge thank-you to everyone–no matter how large or small–who joined in the GED activities.”
The 41 GED partner associations under the UFI umbrella are: AAXO (South Africa), AEFI (Italy), AEO (UK), AFE (Spain), AFECA (Asia), AFIDA (Central & South America), AMPROFEC (Mexico), AOCA (Argentina), AUMA (Germany), CAEM (Canada), CEFA (Central Europe), CENTREX (Central Europe), CFI (Italy), EEAA (Australasia), EEIA (EU), EFU (Ukraine), EMECA (Europe), EXSA (South Africa), FAIRLINK (Sweden), FAMAB (Germany), HKECIA (Hong-Kong), IAEE (USA), IDFA (Germany), IECA (Indonesia), IEIA (India), IELA (Global), IFES (Global), LECA (Lebanon), MACEOS (Malaysia), MFTA (Macao), PCEI (Poland), RUEF (Russia), SACEOS/SECB (Singapore), Shanghai Convention and Exhibition Industries Association (China), SISO (USA), TEA (Thailand), TECA (Taiwan), TFOA (Turkey), UBRAFE (Brazil) and UNIMEV (France). For more info, visit www.globalexhibitionsday.org.
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. More than 750 member organizations in 87 countries around the world are presently signed up as members. More than 950 international trade fairs proudly bear the UFI-approved label, a quality guarantee for visitors and exhibitors alike. UFI members continue to provide the international business community with a unique marketing media aimed at developing outstanding face-to-face business opportunities. For more info, visit www.ufi.org .