Asian Exhibition Industry Looks for Growth in Uncertain Times

March 7, 2017

Over 230 delegates from 21 countries and territories gathered in Singapore recently for the UFI Asia Open Seminar to take stock of their industry, which continues to grow, despite plenty of economic and political uncertainties.

Seismic changes such as Brexit, the emerging policies of the Trump administration and slow economic growth in key markets all suggest challenging times lay ahead. However, the Asian exhibition industry has proven time after time that it is well-positioned to grow in the face of less than ideal economic and political circumstances.

The exhibition industry is changing and the theme of this year’s seminar, “Adapting and Upgrading,” examined how it is changing and why.

The two-day program featured key industry thought leaders such as Mark Brewster, CEO of Explori, who shared his research on changing visitor and exhibitor demands.

Adam Charles of FreemanXP also offered his take on innovative event formats which are evolving after years of relying on essentially the same formula.

AirBnB’s Kevin Hoong described how his company reshaped the global hotel market using an online platform that does not own or operate a single hotel property and David Zhong of VNU Exhibitions Asia outlined his experiences with digital innovation at events in China – arguably one of the most innovative digital markets in the world.

The venue landscape also is going through a period of change. Michael Kruppe, general manager of the SNIEC venue in Shanghai, moderated a panel of venue managers from around the region, including Singapore, Australia and Thailand.

The panellists discussed new sources of revenues, what is required to stay competitive and what new services visitors are expecting from venues.

UFI officials said it was pleased to bring the 12th edition of this seminar to Singapore – which last hosted a major UFI event in 2010 when the 77th Global UFI Congress was hosted by the Lion City.

This year’s UFI Open Seminar in Asia was hosted by several key industry organizations in Singapore - including Suntec Singapore, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Singapore Association of Convention & Exhibition Organiser and Suppliers (SACEOS).

It also was supported by UFI’s Diamond Sponsors: Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) and Global Experience Specialists (GES).

The Open Seminar week featured two days of networking and learning, as well as a Sustainable Development Education Forum, a meeting of the members of UFI’s Asia Pacific Chapter, an Association Committee meeting, a gala dinner, city tours and much more.

Kai Hattendorf, UFI’s Managing Director, said before the event kicked off, “The Asian exhibition industry has always demonstrated an ability to grow year after year – even throughout periods of uncertainty such as the global financial crisis. For this reason, it is exciting for UFI to bring together exhibition industry leaders from around the region as they look for opportunities to grow and expand their businesses in 2017. We are particularly pleased to be Singapore their as the market here plays an important part of the booming exhibition industry in Southeast Asia.”

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