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Saudi Arabia backs events industry with $3.7bn fund

Saudi Arabia has given a strong backing to its vision for our industry with a package worth $3.7 billion.

The Events Investment Fund will spearhead growth for sectors across the kingdom.

It recognises the importance of our industry – and should serve as a wakeup call for other world leaders to give some policy focus too.

Find out how ExpoPlatform is working to make smarter, more sustainable events possible through our new programme.

Meanwhile, Enrico Gallorini from GRS Research & Strategy has become president of Info Salons and CloserStill Media has announced a majority share in an ecommerce conference company.

Read on for more of the top stories from this Week in Events.

Saudi Arabia announces $3.7bn events fund

Saudi Arabia has launched a new $3.7 billion initiative to spearhead growth in our industry.

The Events Investment Fund aims to develop a sustainable infrastructure for the culture, tourism, entertainment and sports sectors across the kingdom. 

It will further raise capital through opportunities to private sector and financial institutions, with a total direct GDP impact estimated of around $7.5bn by 2045.

The fund also aims to create strategic partnerships to boost local industry, increase foreign investment and contribute to a more “vibrant society”.

New president at Info Salons

Enrico Gallorini has been announced as the new president of Info Salons.

The announcement comes after the company was acquired by GRS Research & Strategy, which was co-founded by Enrico, in June.

Info Salons was established in the early 1980s and has since gone on on to become a world-leader in event and exhibition registration services.

Enrico said: “I’m happy to share that I’m starting a new position as president at Info Salons.”

GRS has previously committed to strengthening Info Salons’ position as a data intelligence driven registration firm, focusing on new products and technologies to better serve the exhibition industry.

Freeman agreed to sell Info Salons to GRS last year, recognizing its stature and strong foothold in the evolution of exhibitions, congresses and live shows.

CloserStill Media gains majority stake in ecommerce community

CloserStill Media has purchased a majority stake of a company highly focused in ecommerce conference and community.

The organiser’s stake in US-based CommerceNext has a portfolio of events for marketers at retail and direct-to-consumer brands.

It will retain its existing operating structure with co-founders Scott Silverman, Veronika Sonsev and Allan Dick leading the business working alongside CloserStill Media’s team.

Yancy Weinrich, the organiser’s North America president, said: “We are delighted to be bringing the CommerceNext US conferences and events business into ClosersStill Media US.

“CSM runs successful ecommerce events in the UK, Singapore and Spain, so, this will allow the teams at CommerceNext and CloserStill Media to collaborate globally with the content, commercial sales and audience development to add even more firepower to the already successful events around the country.”

The company produces highly-rated ecommerce conferences and events including its annual summit, the Ecommerce Growth Show.

It also puts on webinars, executives dinners, curated networking events and industry research.

Net Promoter Scores for its annual conference far exceed industry averages and consistently top 50.

Informa revenue set to hit almost £2.4bn for 2022

Informa expects revenue of almost £2.4bn for 2022 with a strong surge in digital services, according to a latest update.

The group anticipates a figure of £2.38bn for last year, adjusted operating profit of more than £530 million and free cash flow of £440m.

It comes alongside further strong growth in B2B Digital Services underpinned by its customer data engine IIRIS as well as other recent additions including Industry Dive.

Stephen Carter, group CEO, said: “Informa finished 2022 strongly and has entered 2023 with continuing momentum.

“Strong performances in both academic markets and B2B markets, combined with our strengthened balance sheet, mean Informa will deliver further strong underlying growth, continuing organic investment and additional targeted expansion, alongside enhanced shareholder returns.”

Its continued strong performance in traditional pay-to-read publishing combined with further progress in open research is expected to deliver  around 3% underlying revenue growth in 2022, up from 2.4% in 2021.

Meanwhile, there has been an accelerating performance across its B2B events portfolio which is expected to deliver around 70% underlying revenue growth in live shows for 2022,
up from 65%+ at the ten-month stage with particular strength in the US.

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