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Record-breaking 85 Countries Take Part in Global Exhibitions Day (#GED18)

June 08, 2018 8:41 AM | Russell Kice (Administrator)

Record-breaking 85 Countries Take Part in Global Exhibitions Day (#GED18)

June 7, 2018


Exhibition professionals around the world came out in record numbers for the third Global Exhibitions Day (GED) June 6.

Not only did this highlight the industry’s role as a driver of economic growth, but also established GED 2018 as the biggest day of advocacy for the exhibition world so far, with 85 countries taking part, according to data from UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry.

This year’s GED focused on two key areas: first, to advocate industry issues with politicians and stakeholders, and secondly, on finding new ways to connect with young people to attract the right talent to the exhibition industry.

By the end of the day, the UFI team in Paris had registered activities in 85 countries and regions from all around the world, with the leading organisers, venues and service providers all being active.

This year’s success builds on the impressive results from the 2017 campaign, which already set a record for global industry advocacy.

Coordinated by UFI, this joint advocacy campaign also united 41 GED partner associations.

“I watched the action unfold throughout the day from my home country Italy,” said UFI President Corrado Peraboni.

He added, “All around the world, our industry stood up to be noticed – and we succeeded! I am especially pleased to see the prominent support from ministers in national governments who shared their understanding of how important exhibitions and business events are for their economies and citizens.”

Activities in all parts of the world GED saw a broad mix of activities, both on-site and online, promoting exhibitions as business platforms, as well as highlighting opportunities for career and business development.

Specific events and activities were arranged by many of the international and national organisers, by venues, by service providers, and also by national and regional associations.

“It has once again been absolutely amazing to see our industry united for this cause. While the whole UFI team around the world will really need some sleep now, it’s been an absolute pleasure to support our global exhibition industry community in this way,” said Kai Hattendorf, UFI managing director/CEO.

He added, “When we started GED in 2016, we were encouraged by the strong support we received. Now, just two years on, GED has helped all of us make a real difference in obtaining tangible recognition for our industry. So a huge thank-you to everyone – no matter how large or small – who joined in the GED activities.”

Preliminary data analysis shows that on Global Exhibitions Day alone, joint initiatives by the industry reached a record number of people all over the globe – both face-to-face and on social media.

Initial research suggests that the number of GED events and projects has risen yet again year-on-year.

On social media, more than 4 million individual twitter accounts were reached through messages using the #ged18 hashtag alone on GED itself - up by at least 30 percent from last year.


A list of global GED activities is available at www.globalexhibitionsday.org.

Here are some examples of the many activities that focused on education and networking around the world:

  • In Australia, the Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment endorsed GED in a video message to the industry. EEAA also organised the 2018 Global Exhibitions Day and Leaders’ Forum Dinner, and launched a talent acquisition campaign called “A Career for Life”.
  • In Asia, activities were reported at many venues in China, whilst in Thailand, the TCEB ran an “Exhibition Industry Forum” focusing on the theme of change. In India, the IEIA oversaw festivities in New Delhi, Mumbai, Greater Noida, Hyderabad and Jaipur. Meetings were organised with ministers and government officials from various states to raise awareness of how important the exhibition industry actually is. Last but not least, “IEIA Youth CONNECT” used interactive sessions to reach out to students from MICE/event management institutes to encourage them to pursue a career in the exhibition industry.
  • In Africa, AAXO organised the first edition of "Exhibition Games", with 44 contestants taking part in this friendly contest. The association also hosted an open conversation between organisers and suppliers to address industry issues.
  • In Europe, Germany’s AUMA shared the findings of national research, backed by the latest data, to demonstrate just how important the exhibition industry is for the German economy. Italy’s AEFI hosted a government advocacy event in Rome. In Spain, AFE scheduled government meetings, and IFEMA held an open day, offering a guided tour of their facilities with a special invitation for students. In Russia, RUEF organised the seventh Russian Exhibition Industry Conference in Moscow. EXPOCENTRE Moscow assembled a display of vintage exhibition posters in the Vystavochnaya (exhibition) metro station. In France, UNIMEV hosted the third Annual Global Exhibitions Day Run in Paris. In addition, young industry professionals from many countries talked about their career paths and motivation for working in the exhibition industry.

 • In the Middle East, the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC) adjusted the lighting of its roof sun-wells to reflect the name of the event (“GED18”), creating a unique visual over the course of the week. The Abu Dhabi-based ADNEC group gathered and linked up staff at their different venues from around the world, hence demonstrating their connectedness.

  • In North America, IAEE invited its members to travel to Washington DC for a day of advocacy talks with parliamentarians and their staff. Both Freeman and GES, headquartered in the USA, ran activities globally showcasing the broad range of career activities in the industry.
  • In Latin America, Corferias (Colombia) is currently holding the lead in the global #GEDNumberChallenge - gathering 510 industry professionals in one GED picture. AMPROFEC members hosted events all across the country in Mexico.

In addition, this year saw a huge rise in the number of videos posted online. Many young industry colleagues across the globe joined in on the "Follow Me" campaign and shared their working environments on social networks, showcasing how attractive and multifaceted our industry is.

Global players Reed, UBM, Comexposium and GES (to name just a few) were particularly active here.

More details about the GED activities that took place around the world are available at www.globalexhibitionsday.org.

There, all GED participants can record their specific activities on a dedicated database.

“We are calling on everyone to share their activities with the global community to help establish best practices,” said Christian Druart from UFI’s GED project team. GED Awards recognise this year’s best initiatives. In the coming weeks, UFI’s media partner Exhibition World, together with the UFI team, will review all reported GED activities, and select best practice examples to be shared with the rest of the industry.

Winners will receive the “GED Award” in the following five categories: Most Creative Activity, Highest Profile Online Activity, Biggest Scale Physical Activity, Industry Impact Award, and (new this year) the Talent Promotion Award.

Exhibitions Day always takes place on the first Wednesday in June. GED 2019 is therefore scheduled June 5, 2019.

The 41 GED partner associations under the UFI umbrella are: AAXO (South Africa), AEFI (Italy), AEO (UK), AFE (Spain), AFECA (Asia), AFIDA (Central & South America), AMPROFEC (Mexico), AOCA (Argentina), AUMA (Germany), CAEM (Canada), CEFA (Central Europe), CENTREX (Central Europe), CFI (Italy), EEAA (Australasia), EEIA (EU), EFU (Ukraine), EMECA (Europe), EXSA (South Africa), FAIRLINK (Sweden), FAMAB (Germany), HKECIA (Hong-Kong), IAEE (USA), IDFA (Germany), IECA (Indonesia), IEIA (India), IELA (Global), IFES (Global), LECA (Lebanon), MACEOS (Malaysia), MFTA (Macao), PCEI (Poland), RUEF (Russia), SACEOS/SECB (Singapore), Shanghai Convention and Exhibition Industries Association (China), SISO (USA), TEA (Thailand), TECA (Taiwan), TFOA (Turkey), UBRAFE (Brazil) and UNIMEV (France).


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