Exhibition World Issue 5 - 2018 - Page 30

Analysis situation to analysing the impact for their shows and defining concrete actions at show level to face the impact of a trade war. Whilst unsurprisingly the majority see the current and upcoming trade wars as extremely negative, many participants of our survey have now started to explore and review possible positive impacts that could come through trade war scenarios for their shows, as every closing door in a trading chain can open another door for somebody else to step in and fill the trading gap. The independent media analyst Alex de Groote says: “The implications of wider protectionism are of course more of a concern, but also an opportunity for the fleet-of-foot. Japanese cars for example are seeing a resurgence in China. Trade show operators able to nimbly address such business opportunities could thrive.” Another example how the trade show industry can adapt and even come out stronger after a disruption is provided by Sergey Alexeev (President of Russian Union of Exhibition and Fairs, Vice-president of Expoforum International) who explains that, “the Russian exhibition industry has already faced the negative impact of such measures. Since 2014, the situation in the Russian exhibition industry has become more complicated due to the introduction of sanctions, retaliatory sanctions and currency problems”. According to Alexeev, when the first anti-Russian sanctions were imposed, they observed a decline in all key figures of the exhibitions organised by RUEF members. In 2017 the situation stabilised. By the end of the year they experienced a growth of key figures, including the increase of foreign exhibitors (+ 3.3 per cent), and for the first six months of this year, it has 28 Issue 5 2018 “The Trump effect is helping the Latin American region as organisers rethink their approach.” increased by 16 per cent. So they observed a replacement of their traditional partners from Europe with new ones from Asia. Another good example of positive effect is shared by Rafa Hernandez, chairman of CoExpo and the World Meetings Forum in Mexico: “The Trump effect is helping the Latin American region. The organisers of many events that were initially planned for launch in the US are now looking to Latin America due to his policies with immigration and trade. It’s really making people rethink their approach to the Americas.” These examples nicely demonstrate how senior exhibition managers in affected regions deal with the situation of trade wars and find the opportunities even in a situation that is rated as extremely negative by more than 95 per cent of all participants in our survey. In our conversation with Sergey Alexeev, he underlined that the exhibition industry should try to remain detached from any political agenda. “Trade shows and industry associations like UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, are great instruments to prevent trade wars by communication and cooperation,” he says. Personally, I strongly support Alexeev’s view. Economies are built on trust and relationships between players in an industry. I take pride in having friends in Russia, China, USA, Europe and many other places of the world and no trade war will change this. Exhibitions bring people together face-to-face so that they can build trust and do business. Trade shows are affected by trade wars but – as we are a people’s business – our industry also offers the best platform that can help to overcome trade wars. w w w.exhibitionworld.co.uk