Sharjah attends global expo meet

The global exhibition business has moved from renting space to facilitating business and the Middle East meetings and exhibitions industry too needs to keep pace with such changes, according to a senior Sharjah official.

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Published: Fri 29 Jun 2012, 11:28 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 2:41 PM

Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, director-general of Expo Centre Sharjah, was speaking after returning from high-level meetings of the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) in Hamburg, Germany, recently.

“The participants took stock of the fast-paced economic changes taking place globally and the challenges they are throwing up. They also examined real case studies to see what options related to these issues are viable in today’s tight economic climate,” he said.

Midfa was among the 200 exhibition industry professionals from 39 countries who took part in the meetings of the UFI – UFI Open Seminar in Europe held on June 18-20 and the UFI Focus Meeting on Sustainable Development held on June 21.

“The meetings turned out to be a great forum that provided exciting opportunities to explore new ideas and exchange practical information among top-level international executives from diverse regions and backgrounds,” said Midfa.

The UFI Open Seminar in Europe focused on exploring the changing expectations of exhibition customers and urged trade fair professionals to retain the unique flavour of exhibitions’ face-to-face marketing experience.

But, with the virtual and real worlds increasingly overlapping, it is important for today’s exhibition management to appreciate the potential of new technologies and communications platforms, the participants were told.

The need for exhibition organisers of both B2B and B2C trade shows to understand major trends in the industries underlying their exhibitions was also stressed during the meetings.

A number of exhibition organisers and venues also made presentations on winning strategies which have proven successful in the trade fair environment. As more and more exhibition organisers and venues consider sustainable results as an official corporate core value, participants were also briefed on how sustainable development can be integrated as a cost-effective element of their business planning.

The UFI gathering also included a number of additional UFI meetings, including the UFI Executive and Board Meetings, UFI European Chapter Meeting, UFI Associations’ Committee meeting and UFI Auditing meeting.

A UFI statement quoted its managing director Paul Woodward as saying, “Exhibitions are vital and powerful facilitators of new business and trade and we thank Hamburg Messe for giving us the opportunity to discuss the future of our industry here in their wonderful facilities.”

Expo Centre Sharjah, the exhibition wing of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, became a member of UFI in 2009.

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