Exhibition World Issue 5 - 2018 - Page 38

Big Interview Maghreb and Egypt, you have a number of destinations with some well-established exhibitions. I invite all organisers from the region to use UFI to connect with their international peers, and all international organisers to also look at other developing markets in Africa – there is a lot happening in Egypt and Nigeria, for example. How is business at the Johannesburg Expo Centre? Business is good here at the JEC. It’s a very exciting time for us with the 125th instalment of The Rand Show next year. The Rand Show is still South Africa’s largest and most iconic consumer event locally and event-goers are in for a treat. We expect some of the activities and experiences there to even break records. It sounds ambitious but watch this space. What do you think are the main global challenges for exhibition organisers and venues? The world is changing, and our business needs to respond to these changes, as has always been the case. Exhibitions are a refl ection of the markets they serve, so economic development in our home markets as well as internationally are at the forefront of our minds. Also, the UFI Barometer shows that competition in our industry is increasing in many markets – driven by consolidation as well as a shift to more digital events and exhibitions. For venues, such as my home venue, investment in technology as well as top security are high on the agenda. The UFI Congress will focus on new business models and the transition to modernity. Are these key issues in Africa? Yes, new business models and the transition to modernity are global issues, also concerning the South 36 Issue 5 2018 African market. The UFI Congress is the place where these matters will be debated with knowledgeable experts, and where we can share experiences and learn from other members. This is why the UFI community is so important. Concerning Africa, we are known for fi nding an “African way” – leapfrogging whole stages of industry developments. What advice would you offer Mary Larkin, UFI’s incoming president, to prepare for her role during the year ahead? I very much enjoy working with Mary already and look forward to working even more closely with her as she becomes a member of the presidential trio in St. Petersburg, preparing for her year as UFI’s president. I will share with her my experience throughout the whole year of my presidency, so that she can be prepared for her presidential role in 2020. But she for sure will not need any special advice. I think it’s great that UFI will now have the fi rst-ever US president – we’ve had presidents from Latin America, Russia, China, and now Africa. I think it was about time, so that’s great. The JEC is looking forward to hosting events including the 125th Rand Show in 2019. South Africa is famous for wine, ‘braai’ and the vuvuzela. Tell us one event-related fact that we don’t know about your country? South Africa is the proud host of one of the world’s largest mining exhibitions, which takes place every second year at the Johannesburg Expo Centre. Mining is South Africa’s third largest business sector after agriculture and manufacturing, contributing almost 10% to the country’s GDP. South Africa is the world’s largest primary producer of platinum, with a 75% share of global supply. w w w.exhibitionworld.co.uk