The exhibitions industry stole global limelight on June 7, 2017, when industry leaders and executives from the Middle East and Africa region joined hands with people on every continent to celebrate the second Global Exhibitions Day on June 7, 2017.
The 2nd Global Exhibitions Day, an initiative of Paris-based Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI), gave all stakeholders in the exhibitions industry a chance to highlight its positive impact on jobs, business, innovation and local investment.
“The Global Exhibitions Day can be best described as a global celebration of the exhibitions industry, highlighting the power of the meetings and exhibitions industry, and the diverse range of career opportunities it generates. Under the UFI, thousands of professionals and students took part in activities across scores of countries and regions around the world to generate a global buzz. The Middle East and North Africa region and Expo Centre Sharjah were integral part of the celebrations,” said H.E. Abdalla Sultan Mohamed Al Owais, Chairman of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry & Expo Centre Sharjah
This year, the Global Exhibitions Day coincided with the 40th anniversary celebrations of Expo Centre Sharjah, which was established in 1977 as the first such facility in the country and is considered as a pioneer in its field.
Expo Centre Sharjah was in the forefront of regional celebrations since it is home to the UFI’s Middle East/Africa Regional Office, and its CEO, H.E. Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, the Chairman of the Gulf Chapter of International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), the MEA Chapter of UFI, and the Council of Arab Economic Unity’s exhibitions wing — the Arab Union for International Exhibitions and Conferences.
“The exhibitions industry brings significant social and economic benefits to every country and region. It improves productivity, creates new workplaces, boosts economic and infrastructure development and generates jobs. I am happy to note that everyone associated with the industry was involved in the celebrations. Together, we raised awareness about the enormous value of the exhibitions industry and lent crucial support to the global campaign,” said H.E. Midfa.
The UFI’s 720 member-organisations from 84 countries spearheaded the GED17 activities in their respective countries. People on every continent joined the GED17 campaign online and through an array of national and local events, from venues and organisers to students, local partners and public authorities.
If the first Global Exhibitions Day in 2016 succeeded in bringing together the industry together for the first time, the second GED saw much bigger participation and engagement.
The GED17 also gave the regional industry a chance to bring global spotlight on the growing prominence of the exhibitions and meetings sector in Middle East and Africa, and the upcoming mega events like the World Expo 2020 and the Fifa World Cup 2022.
According to UFI data, every year, 4.4 million companies take part in 31,000 exhibitions around the world that attract 260 million visitors, and the total spend by both exhibitors and visitors is estimated at US$109 billion.