UFI survey finds exhibition industry leaving recession behind
19-Jan-11by Annie Byrne
FRANCE – The international exhibition market has emerged from the recession with momentum, according to global exhibition association UFI.The Sixth Global Barometer Survey, conducted by UFI in December, indicates the exhibition industry has left behind the depressed business environment of the past two years and is “moving positively ahead” globally.Data for the survey was collected from 173 companies in 54 countries including UFI representatives from other international associations such as the Society of Independent Show Organisers in the US, and the Asociacion International de Ferias de America in Central and South America.As with UFI’s previous barometers, the results demonstrate significant regional variation, due in part to lesser exposure to the downturn in the Middle East and Africa and an earlier recovery in Asia/Pacific and the Americas than in Europe. In the last six months, the confidence level that respondents’ exhibition businesses are now over has significantly increased in the Americas, reaching optimism similar to that in the Asia/Pacific region. UFI claims the “bottoming-out” in turnover experienced since 2008 has passed in all regions, with the majority of companies anticipating an increase in turnover during the first half of 2011.UFI MD Paul Woodward, pictured, told EW it was reassuring to see the industry finally recovering in all regions. “I think the fact that the UFI Barometer now shows the majority of respondents in all four regions predicting an increase in turnover for the first time since we started the survey is a good indication that 2011 should be a much better year for the industry worldwide,” he commented.The survey also shows a majority of those surveyed in three regions (Americas, Asia/Pacific and Middle East/Africa) registered an increase in profits of more than 10 per cent in 2010 compared to 2009. Even the previously struggling European region has shown significant improvement with the majority of survey participants now expecting stable, or better, operating profits compared to 2009.Some of the most significant discoveries can be seen not in the numbers, but in the altered perception of the current impact of the economic crisis. According to the survey, almost half of respondents have put this behind them and are now looking positively to the future.