Industry kicks of the year in chilly Xi’an
From Paul Woodward in Hong Kong: for the past six years, the first major meeting of the exhibitions industry anywhere in the world has taken place in China. This latest edition of CEFCO (the China Expo Forum for International Cooperation) has just finished in Xi’an in China’s northwestern Shaanxi province. Some 550 delegates from across China and around the world joined to talk about developments in the industry and prospects for the year ahead.
The meeting is organized by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and supported by UFI along with IAEE and SISO from the US. This year’s event saw UFI President Manfred Wutzlhofer kick off the proceedings accompanied by the team from the Asia/Pacific office in Hong Kong and a number of our members from around the world. At the opening ceremony, he told delegates “UFI is delighted to support once again this event which we clearly recognise as the most important meeting in China which is rapidly becoming one of the world’s most significant exhibition markets”.
CCPIT talked about this market when it presented its annual report on the Chinese trade fair industry. Even as exports stumbled in the first part of the year, many of the major exhibitions continued to grow. They did, though offer a note of caution on the rapid expansion in exhibition venue capacity when Mr. Gu Chao, Director-General of the Exhibition Department, called for careful review of wastage and under-utilsation of facilities.
Of course, for many attendees to a wintry Xi’an, some of the key highlights took place outside the conference hall including a visit to the remarkable terra-cotta warriors of the Chin emperor’s tomb. For those who weren’t able to join us there, I’d commend you to IAEE President Steven Hacker’s memorable photographs which he has kindly made public. Thanks Steven!
More to follow on the UFI Chinese members’ meeting and other highlights from CEFCO.