Exhibition World Issue 5 - 2018 - Page 24

UFI Comment Kai Hattendorf UFI managing director Russia awaits It’s that time of year when many of you will be booking your trips to the upcoming UFI Global Congress. The UFI team is busy getting ready for what is sure to be another memorable meeting. After Shanghai in 2016 and Johannesburg in 2017, our industry’s global annual gathering will take place in St. Petersburg (Russia). It’s been a memorable year, so there are many issues to discuss – from M&A to digital transformation, and from changing business models to venue developments. UFI last held the Global Congress in Russia during 2005 in Moscow. This time, we’re returning to a very different Russian market. Despite numerous political changes and challenges over the past 13 years, the industry has evolved, and the country’s leading organisers today are an equal mix of national and international companies. At the same time, we have seen an expansion of available venue space, notably with the new ExpoForum venue in St. Petersburg, where the Congress is being hosted. Our latest Global Barometer data shows that the Russian market has stabilised, with the vast majority expecting steady operating results in 2018 and growing turnover in the fi rst half of 2019. More so than in other markets and regions, the industry cites economic developments at home as the most important business issue for the future. 22 Issue 5 2018 Growing visitor numbers at shows in 2016 and 2017 also point to a recovery. The upcoming “2017 Euro Fair Statistics” report reveals that in 2017, 139 accredited exhibitions were held in 13 cities. This amounts to 930,000sqm of space occupied by more than 43,000 direct exhibitors. More than 2.6 million visitors were registered. Of course, one defi ning theme of 2018 in our industry is the acceleration and size of mergers and acquisitions, with the Informa/UBM deal in the spotlight at the top. Just this week, new M&A announcements came in from the US, the UK, Mexico, South East Asia, the UAE, and Russia as well. In addition, global investments into venue space are moving ahead – only last week in India, I witnessed the groundbreaking expansion of India Expo Mart in Greater Noida, and the construction site ЁAɅѤ5) եѡٕՔM顕 ́ͼ)ɽɕͥݡՍѥ1́ÝѡUL)ո)Q́́͡܁Ʌѥٔݔɔ́)ɽ٥Ѽͥ́չѥ́ɽչѡ)ݽɱeаЁѡͅѥѡ͍ͥɽչѡ)ɔMݥɱ͕5 ɽͼ́͡)܁ɕѥ́͡ȁ䁍)́ԁ͕ѡɔ́ЁѼхЁ܁ݕ̸)MԁЁѡ ɕ̄)܁܁ܹᡥѥݽɱլ