Sharjah – MENA Herald: The Global CEO Summit, a prestigious event for the global exhibitions industry which was held last week at the prestigious Bayerischer Hof Hotel in Munich, saw an increasing number of exhibition organisers and associations pledging their support for the first ever Global Exhibitions Day, an initiative launched to promote and highlight the industry’s achievements.

This was the third Global CEO Summit to be jointly organized by UFI and tfconnect, and which was attended by Mr. Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, CEO, Expo Centre Sharjah, who witnessed the participation of more than 125 top executives of leading exhibition centres and organizing companies from across the world.

A highlight during the Summit was the announcement of Global Exhibitions Day, which received tremendous support and appreciation. An initiative by Paris-based UFI and Dallas-based International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), the Global Exhibitions Day will be observed on June 8 this year across the globe.

“The main aim is to promote the value of exhibiting for companies, the role of exhibitions for the development of trade and internationalisation, as well as their role in driving innovation and competitiveness of companies,” says Mr. Midfa who is also Chairman of the UFI Middle East-Africa Chapter.

The Global Exhibitions Day aims to unite all the leading national and regional initiatives under one common umbrella, to strengthen the message and multiply their reach. At the same time, it is also considered to be a celebration of all the people working together in the dynamic exhibitions industry.

An exclusive preview of the results of the UFI global exhibition barometer was also presented at the Summit. This survey, conducted in December 2015, and presented at the Summit by UFI Managing Director Kai Hattendorf, outlines the overall trends in turnover and operating profits worldwide, and highlights key issues facing exhibition businesses today.

The exhibitions industry in the Middle East and Africa and in Asia/Pacific is on a positive trend despite prevailing uncertainties. A large majority of companies in North America and Europe too are positive in their outlook with regards to turnover, with the exception of Russia.

“Though growth prospects look constrained, the global exhibitions industry appears dynamic and confident for 2016, and turnover is expected to increase in most regions, including the Middle East, where most exhibition organisers are planning new activities and events. The survey remains cautious that in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa there exists a certain level of uncertainty,” adds Mr. Midfa. The survey evaluated data from 240 companies in 58 countries, including 12 global industry core markets.

The other core issues explored during the Summit included a close look at major issues around the world in both leading and emerging markets affecting today’s economy, and an in-depth insight into evolving digital players & activity. Other key subjects included global expansion, and why private equity and digital players are looking at and paying higher multiples to invest in the event space.

UFI, which counts more than 685 members, is the association of the world’s leading tradeshow organisers and fairground owners, major national and international associations of the exhibition industry and its partners. The UFI’s Middle East/Africa Regional Office is based in Sharjah at Expo Centre Sharjah.