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PARIS / SHANGHAI – As over 600 events professionals from over 50 countries gather in Shanghai for the 83rd UFI Global Congress, leaders of UFI – the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, met to review the organisation’s work in 2016 and set out plans for the year ahead.

The 2016 UFI Annual General Assembly is embedded in UFI’s four-day Congress, “Ripples – The Exhibition Industry in Transformation”.

Chaired by UFI President Sergey Alexeev, the General Assembly highlighted an array of new initiatives supporting and inspiring UFI’s 700+ members in 84 countries.

These will culminate in the 84th UFI annual Global Congress, to be held in South Africa on 1 – 4 November 2017.

“In times of uncertainty, our role as the global association for the exhibition industry is more important than ever. UFI truly understands the global changes and local realities faced by event professionals everywhere,” said Mr Alexeev, who is Vice-President of ExpoForum-International (Russia). “I’m honoured to have been President of UFI’s valuable work. These past 12 months have gone too fast, so I’m grateful to have one more year ahead of me as member of the UFI presidential trio!”

UFI’s 2016 goals included involving more active members and drawing a broader audience to UFI events. Besides its ambitious awards programme, UFI launched new projects such as the Next Generation Leadership Grant (NGL), research publications on exhibition visitors and sustainable development, and, together with associations around the world, Global Exhibitions Day – which will run again on 7 June 2017.

In his first year as Managing Director / CEO, Kai Hattendorf supported UFI in speaking up for the global exhibition industry, meeting private and public sector leaders from every continent – both in their own countries and at UFI’s Paris headquarters.

“Talking to as many of our members as possible regularly allows the UFI team to identify evolving trends and developments in our industry and to support them in addressing these issues”, Hattendorf said. “In the past months alone, we have been able to respond quickly to needs arising from the issues of event security and standardization initiatives, to name just a few.” Through UFI’s unique network of almost 60 association members, matters of importance to the exhibition industry can be shared around the globe quickly.

UFI continued its drive to share latest industry know-how in 2016. Two highlights of a busy programme of events were; the sold out Global CEO Summit in Munich, Germany and the Sustainable Development Focus Meeting in Chaing Mai, Thailand.

The UFI General Assembly announced the following events for 2017:

  • Global CEO Summit: 8 – 10 February, Barcelona, Spain (co-organised by UFI and tfconnect).
  • UFI Educational Forum on Sustainability: 21 – 22 February, Singapore
  • UFI Open Seminar in Asia: 22 – 24 February, Singapore
  • UFI Operations & Services Focus Meeting: 23 – 24 March, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • UFI Open Seminar in Europe: 10 – 12 May, Cologne, Germany
  • 84th UFI Congress: 1 – 4 November, Sandton Convention Centre, South Africa

One focus in the coming months will be the establishment of a new quality education programme in partnership with the Venue Management Association (VMA). The Programme will offer exhibition venue managers the opportunity to improve their operational and managerial skill sets. UFI will also take the lead in recruiting top-quality local instructors, translating the course modules into local Asian languages, as well as promoting and operating the new programme. The inaugural programme will be held in China in the second half of 2017.

UFI is grateful to all its members, partner and sponsors, notably the 3 Diamond Sponsors GES, ICE and TCEB. These include a new diamond sponsor in 2016, and several new members with extensive experience in the industry. The UFI Approved Event label is now used by 941 exhibitions across the globe, an increase of 27, when compared to  last year.

Andreas Gruchow, Member of the Managing Board of Deutsche Messe AG, Hanover (Germany) will take over the reins as UFI President for 2016-17 at the conclusion of the Congress, on 11 November.

He is to be joined in UFI’s new presidential leadership trio by Corrado Paraboni, Amministratore Delegato, Chief Executive Officer at Fiera Milano S.p.A, Milan (Italy).

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