UFI Congress Attracts Record-breaking Attendance to Valencia, Spain

November 15, 2011

For the fourth time since its founding in 1925, UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry headed to Valencia, Spain, for its annual Congress.

As a founding member of UFI in 1925, Feria Valencia hosted UFI’s annual Congress in 1933, 1949, 1992 and most recently Nov. 9-12.

This year’s theme, “Bridging Continents – Linking People” brought together almost 400 delegates from 52 countries, which breaks the record for an UFI Congress in Europe, to examine key industry issues from a global point of view, as well as from an in-depth perspective, according to UFI officials.

“While the ever-changing political, economic and international climate makes it difficult to determine in which direction the world is headed, UFI’s members will take a ‘time-out’ in Valencia to share information and strategize on the pitfalls and opportunities ahead for the exhibition industry,” said
Feria Valencia’s President Alberto Catala Ruiz de Galarreta before the event launched.

Trade fair organizers, exhibition centre managers, national and international industry associations and partners of the exhibition industry interacted with leading business professionals, top academic experts, and researchers to benefit from a broad exchange of views and experiences at the Congress.

UFI President Eric Everard, welcomed members, saying, “Today, the quality of our UFI membership is better than ever, and our geographical reach is broader. This means better opportunities to exchange information and to learn and more occasions for face-to-face networking.”

UFI’s membership continues to grow, with more than 30 new organizations joining in the past year, according to UFI officials. In addition, almost 900 international trade fairs now have the UFI-approved label, which represents a quality guarantee for visitors and exhibitors. 

A recent UFI membership survey showed that information and research rank just behind networking as top benefits of UFI membership.

Arie Brienen, CEO Jaarbeurs Holding, Netherlands, who will take over as head of the UFI executive trio, along with Past-president Eric Everard, executive chairman of Artexis, Belgium, and Incoming President Chen Xianjin, chairman of the Organizing Committee of China Association for Exhibition Centers, China, has said he will strive to maximize membership networking opportunities and work to strengthen efforts to promote the “power of exhibitions” as his 2012 priorities.

Paul Woodward, UFI managing director, said that “as the voice of the global exhibition industry, UFI represents member organizations managing over 12 million square meters of exhibition space and organizing over 3000 international exhibitions around the globe.”

He added, “The challenge facing the association is to ensure that the exhibition industry’s recognized value as today’s key face-to-face marketing medium remains undisputed.”

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