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UFI Latin American Conference Successfully Launched in Mexico City

Pictured L-R: Paul St. Amour, VP Latin America, E.J. Krause & Associates (Canada) and Jose Navarro Manesse, director general – E.J. Krause (Mexico) during the Viva Mexico! panel session.

UFI’s inaugural Latin American Conference took place on Sept. 18-19 at the World Trade Center in Mexico City. The event allowed participants to discuss common strategies for different realities in Latin America as 14 speakers from around the Americas shared their insights and experiences with the audience, while deep-dive sessions and networking breaks provided valuable time for focused conversations and further discussions. Around 120 delegates from 16 countries attended.

“This conference exceeded our expectations as UFI’s first-ever major event focused on Latin America,” says Pepe Navarro, general director E.J. Krause Tarsus de Mexico and UFI Latin America Chapter Chair. “It is great to see that the work we have put into this together with the UFI team has paid off.”

As the conference took place on the anniversary of the 2017 Mexico City earthquake, the opening session focused on the way exhibition organizers and venues react to such events—from earthquakes to hurricanes to health scares. Jaime Salazar (CEO of UBM Mexico), Michael Ryan (group exhibitions director of FESPA), and Ed Kelley (director general of the WTC Mexico) shared their experiences along with Juan Gabriel Tamez (director general of Expo Guadalajara).

Another key session called “Expos in Times of Crisis” focused on the ups and downs in Latin America, with industry leaders from the region sharing how economic and monetary crises have influenced the exhibition industry, and what lessons and positives the industry can take from this. Juan Pablo de Vera (senior VP for Latin America for Reed Exhibitions) and Marco Basso (president of Informa Brazil) gave the Brazilian perspective, and Marcos Gottfried (CEO of Tradex Exposiciones) added his Mexican experience. One common statement was that tradeshow organizers in Latin America are probably the most experienced experts in the industry globally when it comes to flexibility and the ability to respond to and overcome crisis situations.

Further sessions focused on digital transformation in Latin America, best practices from Mexico, and business opportunities for Latin American companies in the U.S. The conference closed with technology expert and investor Marco GibMexico, Juan Gabriel Tamez, Expo Guadalajaraerti (CEO of Vesuvio Ventures) who talked about what impact digital disruption might have on the exhibition industry.

Participants were able to download the speakers’ presentations on-site using Poken technology. For UFI members, all recorded sessions will soon be available in the member section on the www.ufi.org website.

As the “Global Association of the Exhibition Industry,” UFI regularly organizes regional conferences around the world as a core activity. “As the number of UFI members in Latin America is growing steadily, we are very happy that we can expand our services and activities here,” says Kai Hattendorf, UFI MD/CEO. “One year ago, we were able to bring in Ana-Maria Arango as regional manager and open our regional office. Now, less than 12 months later, we have already organized our first major event for the region. We look forward to working with the industry and associations in the region to offer broader support for their businesses.”

UFI co-located this event with the XXI AMPROFEC Congress, where UFI also hosted a session and held a meeting for UFI members.

The inaugural Latin American Conference was hosted by AMPROFEC and took place at the World Trade Center in Mexico City. It was also supported by UFI’s Diamond Sponsors: The Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) and Global Experience Specialists (GES). A wide range of sponsors also backed the event. Full details of the UFI Latin American Conference 2018 can be found on the event website: www.ufi.org/mexico2018.


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