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UFI reconnects the global exhibition industry face-to-face in Rotterdam


Around 350 UFI members from around 40 countries and regions attended the 88th UFI Global Congress, which took place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands from 3 to 6 November, under the main theme “Together again”.

Hosted by Rotterdam Ahoy and Rotterdam Partners, this year's Congress was the first opportunity to bring the global industry community together, in a face-to-face setting, since Covid-19 lockdowns.

Offering unique content and keynote speakers from inside and outside the sector, the Congress looked at the future of the industry in the post-Covid world. Alongside networking opportunities, attendees had the chance to celebrate the recovery of the sector, exchange lessons learned, and gain new insights and ideas.

Kai Hattendorf, managing director and CEO at UFI, said: “Rarely in recent years has a Congress theme matched the sense and spirit of an UFI event this well as ‘Together Again’ did this year. We indeed came together again, we discussed together again – we laughed together again. We shared experiences and observations, learnings and strategies. We mourned the colleagues we have lost to the pandemic, and we celebrated those who showed leadership and innovation, winning the UFI Awards this year.”

With more than 60 speakers on stage, delegates could follow a multitude of sessions, covering industry recovery, global trends, diversity & inclusion, entrepreneurship, and best practices. They discussed possible paths forward as well as the more immediate needs, challenges and opportunities the industry faces as the world reopens: strategy, sustainability, the power of face-to-face, work force challenges and opportunities, and data ownership.

Keynote speaker and economist Noreena Hertz stated: “We are creatures of togetherness, our will to connect is actually in our DNA and physical interactions are qualitatively superior to virtual ones!“ Meanwhile, closing keynote speaker, Prince Constantijn Van Oranje commented: “All these things bring new peers together. There is a lot of opportunity that requires to rethink old ways.” Monica Lee-Müller, managing director of Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (Management) Limited (HML), formally assumed office as the UFI president for the year to come. UFI would like to thank Mary Larkin (UFI president 2019/2020), and Anbu Varathan (president 2020/21) for serving the association and the industry! The association also warmly welcomed Michael Duck as Incoming president.


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