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Signs of hope?

I have just arrived in Ghent, Belgium to attend an International Federation of Exhibition and Event Services (IFES) meeting to plan for events in 2011, including Euroshop and 2011 IFES Annual General Meeting in Las Vegas.

While resting from a long trip, I was watching CNN show the opening bell for the US trading day. The DOW Jones opened high and gold reached $1,300 an ounce. The markets in Mexico, Brazil, London, and Paris also opened high.

What caused the up-slide? Investors are always looking for something to cheer about, but no one was certain about this swing.

I’d like to believe that the recent conclusion of the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago, America’s largest tradeshow, has something to do with this added confidence in the market; in spite of the labor disagreement on the final day of the show.

Several customers I served at the IMTS Show said it was their best show ever. Two stated that they sold more machines off the floor at this event than anytime in the past.

That’s a great measurement tool, when trying to return on your investment!

Many say that as the machine tool industry goes, so goes the economy. Are sales in the machine tool industry a sign that there is new faith in the economy? Is this the beginning of the end for the troubled economy?

According to a recent UFI survey report, Global Exposition Barometer-July 2010, the Americas, Asia, Middle East and African regions believe that the downside of the economy began in 2008. Europe believed that the downside began in 2007, with the strongest negative impact in 2009. All regions believe that the economic downturn will end in 2011, with the Middle East stating that the downturn will not recover until 2014.

For the exposition industry, all exhibition regions of the world say that they still feel the negative impact of the downturn and hope to feel an upturn soon.

I believe that exhibitors worldwide continue to believe in the value of face-to-face communication, but have gotten used to doing more with less. We get pretty creative when pushed against the wall to cut costs. Unfortunately, we can never jump back once a new model for business is created. Stay tuned as the world turns!

Larry Kulchawik
Past President- EDPA & IFES
Sr. VP-3D Exhibits, Inc – USA



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