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UFI survey: Digitisation key comeback issue for exhibitions

Digitisation is one of the key issues facing exhibitions as the industry’s comeback from coronavirus continues.

Those are the findings of UFI’s latest Global Barometer, which checks the pulse of businesses around the world.

It also highlights how many planners are already getting on board with event tech as well as how revenues are making a strong return.

Other top stories this week include IEG’s expansion into Germany, a Spanish institution debuts in China with the takeover of two venues and ExCel London becomes a UK-first with a green scheme award.

We also highlight a recent report which found US organisers place less importance on sustainability than their UK and European counterparts.

UFI survey: Digitisation is key for Covid comeback

Digitisation is one of the key issues facing organisers as the industry continues its live comeback, according to an UFI survey.

The association’s latest Global Barometer provides insights on the “bounce-back” of organiser businesses as well as some outlook for 2023.

One of the most pressing issues for eventprofs was found to be digitisation, which came only second to internal management challenges in the study.

But figures from the survey also revealed global exhibition revenues are expected to reach 73% of pre-pandemic levels in 2022 – and 87% in the first half of 2023.

Kai Hattendorf, CEO at UFI, said: “The bounce-back of exhibitions around the world has entered its next phase and pre-Covid levels will be within reach as early as next year in some markets.

“As the industry manages this amazing recovery, it is also dealing with significant staffing challenges and is working to apply key learning from the pandemic around the digitisation of events and services into its business model.”

The most pressing business issues suggest the industry is now focusing on post-pandemic challenges and opportunities.

Internal management challenges was highlighted by 20% of respondents, impact of digitisation was chosen by 17%, while competition with other media was highlighted by 15%.

A total of 65% of respondents have already added digital services or products – such as apps, online advertising digital signage  – to their existing exhibition offerings.

The survey also found that around six in 10 companies are reporting “normal activity” – up from just three in 10 six months ago.

Seven in 10 companies expect to be operating at normal levels by the end of the year, while only around 5% of companies still expect to have “no activity” from September.

Lifting current travel restrictions and the “readiness of exhibiting companies and visitors to participate” was highlighted by six in 10 respondents as one of the key drivers to support the comeback of our industry.

IEG expands in Germany with new subsidiary

The Italian Exhibition Group has expanded its presence in Germany with the foundation of a new subsidiary.

IEG Deutschland will work to be a driving force for growth of relationships and business on one of the world´s major expo markets.

It comes just a week ago after the group announced its arrival in North America with Deutsche Messe. There have also been moves to grow in the UAE and Brazil.

The new subsidiary has set itself the goal of boosting IEG´s presence in Germany, establishing relationships with players in the association and business world as well as organising delegations of exhibitors and visitors attending its major Italian expos.

Thomas Grenot has been revealed as head of IEG Deutschland, taking on the role of country manager.

ExCel London first in UK for green scheme

ExCel London has become the first UK venue of its kind to be awarded an internationally recognised green scheme certificate.

The major premises has taken a significant step on its journey to net zero by becoming carbon neutral approved with PAS 2060 status.

Benchmark sustainability practices include using 100% renewable electricity, offsetting any remaining emissions for gas, fuel, waste, water and employee commuting as well as the installation of water fountains that save 200,000 plastic bottles every year.

Jeremy Rees, CEO of ExceL, said: “Sustainability is at the top of our agenda and minimising our carbon footprint is pivotal to that success.

“It is no longer a nice to have but a right to play across all businesses – not just the events sector – and the reason we’ve chosen to act now not later.

“We’re very proud to be able to call ourselves a carbon neutral venue, but it’s only the beginning on our journey to becoming net zero – a roadmap and ESG Strategy we’ll be sharing in the coming months.”

ExCeL is also signed up to the Net Zero Carbon Events Pledge, committing the venue to a 50% emissions reduction by 2030 and to  fully carbon neutral by 2050.

Fira de Barcelona debuts in China

A Spanish tradeshow institution has announced its takeover of two Chinese venues, marking its debut in the market.

Fira de Barcelona will be running Xuzhou Greenland Huaihai International Expo Center and Nanchang Greenland International Expo Center alongside Greenland – Fira.

The move sees the institution begin management of both international venues, which have a total area of around 240,000 m².

Ricard Zapatero, director of international business at Fira de Barcelona, said: “The management of the two international venues consolidates Fira in China’s market.

“Moreover, we are embarking on this journey at a crucial time when trade fairs are being revived across the country.”

Fira will now take on commercial, technical, logistical and operational management of the venues.

US planners have ‘lower concern’ for sustainability

US organisers do not rank sustainability as much of a priority compared with other Western markets, according to a new study.

The latest Business of Events Global Report on International Planners Statement focussed on 12 specific areas, ranging from
ease of travel to venue quality.

Eventprofs in the US ranked sustainability as having an importance of 6/10, whereas the the UK and Europe gave it a rating of 8/10.

Instead, their top priories were found to be accessibility, security, quality of welcome and suitability of venue.

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