UFI to Host ‘Glocalized’ Global Congress in November

June 17, 2020

Facing the fact that COVID-19-related global travel restrictions will likely continue over the coming months, UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, has shifted the format of its 87th annual UFI Global Congress to smaller regional gatherings instead of a large face-to-face event in one location in November. “Resilience” will be the 2020 theme of the event, known as the exhibition industry’s largest global annual meeting that attracts more than 50,000 industry professionals from across the world.

According to UFI officials, the association is committed to preserving the event’s in-person format, but plans to offer online options for those unable to attend face-to-face. Specific dates and locations will be announced later this summer.

“We want to ensure that as many of our colleagues as possible can attend in person, so this year, we are ‘glocalizing’ the UFI Global Congress,” said Mary Larkin, president of UFI and Diversified Communications USA. 

The smaller events will bring the global UFI community together in localities throughout the world, hence the “glocalized” label, she added. 

According to Kai Hattendorf, UFI managing director and CEO, the association will organize both formal and informal face-to-face and online events that will enable members to network and discuss the trends and challenges across the exhibitions industry.

“Exhibitions and trade fairs in the post-COVID-19 era will play a crucial role in the economic recovery at a local and regional level and we will need to work together to support each other, as our industry always does,” Hattendorf said.

Hattendorf also said the 2020 event’s theme reflects the exhibition industry’s unflagging ability to face disruption and prove its resilience 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,” Hattendorf said. “Only by coming together, can we learn, inspire and deliver in the best way possible.”

The event’s original host, Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre in Muscat, Oman, will host the 89th annual UFI Global Congress in 2022. 

“We are looking forward to seeing our industry colleagues from all around the world – and we want them to enjoy our beautiful country Oman,” said Said Salim Al Shanfari, CEO of the OCEC. “A virus will not stop us from doing this. We are thrilled and excited to be welcoming everyone in the Sultanate of Oman in two years’ time.”

The city of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, will host the 2021 meeting.

To learn more about the event or to pre-register, go here.


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