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Industry reunion in Rotterdam: the week in events

Your weekly event industry news roundup from ExpoPlatform – UFI Global Congress sees industry reunion, Globex report highlights benefits of digital channels and Australian business events representatives deliver warning to politicians.

Exhibition leaders gather for reunion in Rotterdam

It felt like a class reunion last week with industry leaders gathering for the UFI Global Congress for the first time since 2019.

ExpoPlatform’s co-founders Tanya Pinchuk and Mykyta Fastovets were there in Rotterdam to connect and learn about the future of our sector.

We are proud to have sponsored this must-attend event for the exhibition industry – it was fantastic.

Speakers gave signs of optimism with Trixie LohMirmand, executive vice president of the Dubai World Trade Centre, saying between 30-40% of participants in 2021 have been new comers.

A recent report from UFI highlighted how the digital transformation of our industry had helped to bring in fresh interest in live shows.

It comes as it was announced the Global Congress will be held in the US for the first time in 2023, with Las Vegas revealed as the host city.

Kai Hattendorf, UFI CEO, said: “As the global trade association for our industry, this will allow us to connect our colleagues from across the US markets even better with their global peers.”

Meanwhile, the ExpoPlatform team was also in London for Event Tech Live.

Luke Bilton, our chief growth officer, gave several presentations focussing on data, product discovery and benchmarking.

Mark Gordon from our sales team also took part in a roundtable discussion about the future of hybrid.

New Globex report highlights recovery of ‘forward-looking’ organisers

The Covid-19 crisis has benefitted “forward-looking” organisers who have invested in digital technologies, according to a new report.

Findings from the 13th edition of Globex show the global exhibition market this year will only be worth around half its value in 2019, at $14.8 million.

The research – carried out by AMR International – also found the industry will not completely rebound to pre-pandemic levels until at least 2023.

However, some organisers were shown to have managed to find some positives by diversifying their budgets through digital channels.

Carole Boletti, Globex 2021 editor, said: “While the Covid-19 crisis has severely disrupted the exhibition industry, it is at the same time benefitting from some organisers’ refreshed perspective on their markets and accelerated digital developments. However, we are yet to witness major breakthroughs.

“Forward-looking organisers are investing in the enhanced role of digital in their strategies and are embarking on substantial digital transformation.

“Others are still planning to rely solely on traditional events and revenue streams in the medium term. As we had forecast a couple years ago, we are seeing the start of a bifurcation of the industry.”

Here are some more key findings:

  • Each country will respond to the pandemic differently. Globex anticipates that China will fully recover by 2022 and exceed its 2019 size by 2023
  • The US market is expected to achieve full recovery by 2023 due to its low exposure to international participants and relatively early resumption of in-person events
  • Other markets such as France, India and Mexico are forecast to remain slightly below their 2019 size by 2023
  • The trend towards more digital services provided by exhibition organisers will persist and serve to complement and extend physical exhibitions. Globex believes that digital revenue will grow strongly at 28% CAGR between 2020 and 2023

Ms Boletti added: “The impact of the Covid-19 crisis has exceeded most expectations, therefore the outlook beyond 2021 remains uncertain to some degree.

“For 2021, we forecast the market to be valued at $14.8m, still 49% lower than 2019.

“Looking ahead, AMR forecasts that by 2023, the global exhibition market should rebound to 96% of its 2019 size.”

Industry delivers warning to Australian politicians

Representatives of the business events industry Down Under have delivered a strong warning to the nation’s politicians about the health of our sector.

Members of the the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) met with leaders to highlight continued pain and uncertainty due to a lack of pandemic-related support.

They raised key priorities of survival and retention of specialist industry skills, risk mitigation and confidence, as well as recovery needs to stimulate demand. 

Geoff Donaghy, deputy chairman, said: “Given the significant lead time required for the national restart of the business events industry, many parts of our critical supply chain will be faced with the challenge of surviving without functional revenue, noting that any deposits received for future activity must be securely held until services are delivered.

“These businesses will continue to run at a loss for another six months or more.” 

BECA has also formally submitted a response to the Live Performance Federal Insurance Guarantee Fund Bill 2021 before the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee.

It backed its position that the lack of Covid-19 event insurance is a handbrake on confidence and will slow the recovery of the business events industry in 2022.

Seven Hong Kong fairs brought together

More than 16,000 industry buyers attended seven Hong Kong autumn trade shows which were brought together for the first time.

The decision to run the shows concurrently – both online and in-person – created a one-stop shop for technologies, services and information.

It saw more than 3,000 meetings arranged while close to 12,000 buyers browsed products and held discussions online.

Surveys carried out by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) show more than half expected overall sales to increase next year, while 30% expected sales to remain steady.

Respondents were most optimistic about market potential for Taiwan (78%) and South Korea (63%) among traditional markets, while recording well for Mainland China (76%), India (72%) and Eastern Europe (72%) among emerging markets.

The seven autumn trade fairs include the HKTDC Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Autumn Edition), HKTDC International ICT Expo, HKTDC Hong Kong International Medical and Healthcare Fair, HKTDC Hong Kong International Lighting Fair (Autumn Edition), HKTDC Hong Kong International Outdoor and Tech Light Expo, electronicAsia, which is jointly organised by the HKTDC and MMI Asia Pte Ltd, and Eco Expo Asia, which is jointly organised by the HKTDC and Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd.

Concerns still remain over the health of our industry in the special administrative region as strict lockdown measures continue to cause concern.

Live shows return to Thailand

The relaxing of lockdown rules in Thailand has seen a major exhibition centre welcome attendees for the first time since April.

IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Centre is among the venues in our industry seeing a gradual return to normality for in-person shows.

It comes after the nation’s government opened its borders to fully vaccinated international travellers from over 63 countries from November 1.

Loy Joon How, general manager of IMPACT, said: “During the lockdown, we were the only exhibition and convention centre in Thailand to double up as a field hospital.

“In addition, we were also among the first venues to offer our facilities to be a mass vaccination centre.”

The venue has confirmed 49 events will take place between this month and December.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful. At ExpoPlatform, we want to help you build better events and communities. Please get in touch and ask for a demo here. Thank you.