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UFI Barometer: Record Revenue Expected for 2024

This image displays the cover of the UFI Global Exhibition Barometer.

PARIS — The just-released Global Exhibition Barometer from UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, forecasts the highest-ever revenue levels in the year ahead, with revenues expected to increase by an average of 15%.

Just over half (52%) of the 419 responding companies plan to increase their workforces in the coming six months, and 45% will keep their current staff numbers stable. A large percentage of companies reported increased activity, ranging from 66% in North America to 64% in the Middle East and Africa, to 55% in Asia/Pacific and 54% in Central and South America and Europe respectively.

“We knew from previous barometers that we have left the pandemic behind, but the speed of growth remains staggering — albeit, of course, different from market to market,” Kai Hattendorf, UFI Managing Director and CEO, said. “Also, to see that more than half of businesses around the world are actively hiring to grow their workforces right now sends a very clear message. We are busy, and we are open to drive careers for new talent!”

Revenue growth from 2023 compared to 2019 varied from 127% in India, 120% in Spain and 110% in Italy, to 88% in Colombia and 85% in South Africa, to 82% in Germany and 80% in Thailand. Revenue growth in 2024 compared to 2019 is expected to hit 154% in India, 151% in Greece, 99% in China and 94% in South Africa.

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In terms of operating profits compared to 2019 levels, around half of the responding companies declared an increase of more than 10% for 2023. The highest proportion of companies expecting a profit increase of more than 10% when compared to 2019 are located in the UAE (91%), Saudi Arabia (80%), India (71%), Brazil (67%) and Mexico (64%).

Much of the growth is in India and the Middle East, which Hattendorf expects to continue. “For years, organizers have eyed India as a market with a lot of potential — but it was lacking quality venue space,” he said. “Now, new venues are opening while existing ones are expanding and upgrading. On top of this, the country’s economy continues to grow fast. So, both national and international shows are growing, and this can continue for years to come.”

The story in the Middle East is similar, he said. “Saudi is developing its exhibition and business events market, scaling rapidly, while leading markets like Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar continue to see ongoing growth. Destinations like Oman and Bahrain are also gaining in popularity as they offer excellent venues.”

UFI’s bi-annual industry survey was concluded in January 2024, and includes data from 419 companies in 61 countries and regions. It was conducted in collaboration with 31 UFI member associations. Download the report here.

Reach Kai Hattendorf at

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