Paris. Industry leaders from around the world are gathered in Bogota, Colombia from October 29 – 1 November for the 81st Congress of UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry. Over 300 delegates are attending this prestigious annual event which brings together leading exhibition organizers, venue operators, national and international exhibition associations and partners of the industry. This year’s event is hosted by regional industry association AFIDA and Corferias, Colombia’s largest exhibition organisation. The association’s 2014 General Assembly, chaired by Renaud Hamaide, UFI President 2013/2014, reviewed the results of the current year as well as future development plans.
It is clear that the very nature of exhibitions must evolve to reflect changing industry needs, blurring the distinctions between event categories. UFI will need to continue to adjust its focus and services to reflect this. These adjustments will be grouped around four key industry trends which have been identified and are driving industry change: globalisation, digitalisation and the next generation, managing community and sustainable growth.
Renaud Hamaide, UFI President, observed that, “As an industry association, UFI’s programmes must balance its global perspective with regional differences. In the years ahead, exhibitions will have to provide services and programmes which justify significant venue investment, support sustainability and create digital opportunities to satisfy the next generation of clients and employees. UFI will continue to support members as they meet the business challenges of managing year-round communities.”
During the course of the last year, UFI approved the admission of new member organisations bringing its total membership up to to 650 organisations from 82 nations. Membership in UFI is based on adherence to an exhibition industry code of ethics ensuring best practice throughout its international membership. The UFI General Assembly also bestowed the internationally recognized UFI Approved quality label on a select group of international exhibitions. All UFI Approved events must regularly audit and certify their event statistics.
At the conclusion of the 81st UFI Congress, Andrés Lopez Valderrama, UFI’s 2014/2015 President (Corferias, Bogota), will take over the floor from outgoing UFI President Renaud Hamaide (Comexposium and VIPARIS). As an active member of UFI, Lopez Valderrama contributed to the creation of UFI’s Latin America Chapter and has led the UFI Associations Committee as its Chair for four years. In their capacity as Executive Vice-Presidents during the coming 2014/2015 term, Hamaide, and incoming UFI President Sergey Alexeev (RUEF), will provide continuity and support to Andres Lopez Valderrama. The UFI Presidential term of one year builds on a three year UFI Presidential cycle: one year as Incoming-President (Executive Vice-President), one year as President, and one year as Past-President (Executive Vice-President.) UFI announced that its 82nd Annual Congress will be held in Milan from 4 – 7 November 2015.