UFI Launches Global Policy Leadership Series

Cindy McDermott, News Editor
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Kai Hattendorf, CEO and Managing Director at UFI

PARIS — UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, has launched a series of one-on-one video interviews with trade and tourism ministers from around the globe. The Global Policy Leadership Series (GPLS) is a segment of advocacy work UFI undertakes on behalf of the exhibition industry.

“Advocacy for the exhibition industry has become increasingly important throughout the pandemic. It has been over a year and a half since we stopped our normal programming, and while we see some positive progression and restarting, there is also a yo-yo effect of starting and stopping that continues to cause uncertainty for our sector,” Anbu Varathan, President, UFI, said. “As a global industry, we must strengthen our ties with governments throughout the world to reinforce our critical role in rebuilding economies and societies, and to assure authorities, as well as customers, that we are a safe and effective manner of bolstering business, trade, and tourism.”

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The ongoing video lecture series, which continues throughout the year, features dialogues with national governmental representatives on the role of exhibitions in economic recovery and building back better post-pandemic. In the first three interviews of the series, Kai Hattendorf, Managing Director/CEO, UFI, talks with Edward Yau Tang-wah, GBS, JP, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Hong Kong; Robert Troy TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Trade Promotion, Ireland; and Rita Marques, Secretary of State for Tourism, Portugal.

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“It is fascinating to have the opportunity to speak with different ministers from around the world. They all have unique perspectives on economic recovery and the plans for their country/region, but one thing all of these discussions have in common is that the ministers believe strongly in the role of trade exhibitions in driving both global trade as well as local tourism,” Hattendorf said. “Now, more than ever, we need to work together as a global industry and with governments around the world to get back to doing what we do best—bringing people together.”

The governmental leaders shared their support for the industry and the role it will play in the overall economic recovery for their countries. Key comments from each one include:

• “I have no doubt in sharing with everyone that the business events industry has a huge role to play in the recovery of the tourism sector,” Rita Marques, Secretary of State for Tourism, Portugal, said.

• “The trade and exhibition industry is always a good platform for us to plan ahead, and, for the post-pandemic era, how best we can bring back business [and] provide a better platform for all trade which can rely on the success of this particular industry,” Edward Yau Tang-wah, GBS, JP, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Hong Kong, said.

• “Your sector creates opportunities for trade, a platform for businesses to grow, a platform for businesses to engage with one another and it is critically important, particularly for our SME sector,” Robert Troy TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Trade Promotion, Ireland, said.

Successful advocacy campaigns for the events industry are driven by large-scale organized efforts. However, Hattendorf notes individuals must also carry messages to explain the importance of this business to the world’s economy.

“Advocacy is every conversation you have with everyone, every day. People have asked me with the shows being closed, you must have a really relaxed time now. I say that I’m busier than ever because I’m explaining to people who we are and what we do and the role of our industry,” he said. “From every conversation, people take something, every nugget of information and carry it on. You’re constantly seeding many conversations with friends and colleagues in the workplace and your community and that’s all advocacy. It’s not just Pennsylvania Avenue or Capitol Hill. It’s about your neighborhood, your community and your surroundings.”

To review the full GPLS video discussions and receive advance notice of upcoming videos, visit:  https://www.ufi.org/industry-resources/gpls/.

Reach Kai Hattendorf at +40 171 5441198 or kh@ufi.org