With COVID-19-related travel restrictions expected to continue over the coming months, UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, has decided to adjust the format of this year’s congress. Instead of holding the event in one location in November, the association will run a number of smaller regional gatherings around the world.
“We want to ensure that as many of our colleagues as possible can attend in person, so we are ‘glocalizing’ the global congress,” says UFI president, Mary Larkin.
As well, while committed to preserving the event’s in-person format, the association plans to offer digital options for those unable to attend in-person.
“We will organize different formal and informal face-to-face and online events where members can network and share ideas,” says UFI managing director and CEO, Kai Hattendorf.
Specific dates and locations will be announced later this summer.
The 2020 event’s theme is resilience, which Hattendorf says reflects the exhibition industry’s ability to rise above crisis time and again — for example, after 9/11, the 2008 global economic crisis and SARS.
“Confronted with another worldwide challenge, we must now learn about how resilient our industry has been during this crisis, how well we have succeeded in adapting this time and what we need to change to emerge stronger and better prepared for the future,” he says.
2020 Congress host, the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre in Muscat, Oman, will now welcome the event in 2022. Rotterdam, The Netherlands, will host next year’s exhibition.
UFI’s annual congress is the exhibition industry’s largest global annual meeting. It attracts more than 50,000 industry professionals from across the world.