There are many special occasions that are celebrated on specific dates. For instance, World Women’s Day on 8 March or World Aids Day on 1 December. These are dates known by virtually everyone. But what day do we celebrate worldwide today on 7 June? Today is our day! Global Exhibitions Day.
This day is nowhere near as well-known as its famous role models because it is only being celebrated for the second time now. But it does have the same purpose – drawing attention to a specific topic – in this case to the global trade fair business and its contribution to international trade relations. The Global Association of the Trade Fair Industry UFI headquartered in Paris initiated the action day last year and invited all trade fair companies worldwide to show their support by taking part in this day with their own activities. And because the trade fair sector is what it is – vibrant, bursting with ideas and obviously full of event and organisation professionals, response was huge. Companies and organisations from a total of about 60 countries already participated last year – from Brazil to Thailand, from South Africa to Sweden. The line-up included conferences and photo campaigns as well as videos and special events.
We were not shy in coming forward either, asking our colleagues to share their personal trade fair experiences (#GED16). The upshot of this is a whole series of exciting, behind-the-scenes insights into all sorts of trade fair jobs, all linked by the motto “Why we love a fair”. Once again this year the #GED17 activities went all around the globe: our colleagues in New Zealand were the first and Hawaii will be closing activities tonight. Already in the run-up there were photo campaigns on various social media channels, a GED quiz and even a specially developed board game.
It was a matter of honour for us to also be a part of it again this time. This year’s Global Exhibitions Day motto is “Think Global – Act Local”. We always think global. After all, we are represented worldwide by 73 foreign representations for 136 countries and by centres of expertise in 8 countries. And already today we have about 60 spin-offs of our Düsseldorf world brands like interpack, MEDICA, K or wire and Tube spread throughout the world and will be calling another 15 into existence over the next two years. Though we operate and manage the lion’s share of our business here at our homebase in Düsseldorf. This is the home we all feel very attached to. Really local. Here we have a great team that is dedicated with heart and soul to the trade fair business and who are using today to send out greetings to the rest of the sector all over the world to show how proud we are to be a part of it. For this reason we invited all colleagues to be photographed to mark GED17 – which means you can put a few more faces to the names behind our trade fairs and projects.
And it really is worth putting our sector into the limelight: did you know that an impressive total of 680,000 people are employed full-time in organising 31,000 trade fairs a year, visited by 260 million people to view the products and innovations of 4.4 million exhibiting companies? The UFI estimates that every year exhibitors and visitors together spend some Euro 98 m on their trade fair participations, about half of which benefits the trade fair company and the other half hotels, gastronomy, travel companies and suppliers in the surrounding area. So trade fair companies also do something positive for their homebases as well as obviously benefitting international trade relations. Thanks to our worldwide activities we create networks and make it easier, especially for SMEs, to enter new markets.
Our sector is vibrant and brimming with innovation. Despite ever growing digital opportunities real, personal meetings are decisive for most business people, especially when it comes to large investments. Furthermore, only trade fairs can offer the concentrated opportunity to stage your own brand as a company, to speak to new and existing customers direct, to inform the worldwide expert audience and to see how you measure up alongside the competition. This is what makes the trade fair sector so exciting and once again this year we also look forward to many trade fairs with numerous meetings with exhibitors and visitors from throughout the world.