The GCC meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) industry might be showing a sustained growth over the years, but the challenges facing the industry is also constantly on the rise, says a senior industry official.
Saif Mohammed Al-Midfa, director-general of Expo Center Sharjah, was speaking ahead of the UFI Open Seminar in the Middle East, where he will be a panelist on an international discussion on changes in client expectations.
“While the MICE industry is growing by leaps and bounds in the region and the support for face-to-face marketing remains strong, our clients’ expectations are changing,” Al-Midfa was quoted as saying in a statement received here.
He added: “Today, technology allows them to do things online that they used to do at exhibitions while their expectations of measurability are sky-rocketing both online and in other media.”
The UFI Open Seminar in the Middle East will be held in Muscat from Sunday to Tuesday, under the theme ‘Getting ready for future exhibition industry challenges’.
“At the discussion, we will look at how to re-engineer our events to meet these changing expectations and what are the opportunities and risks for exhibition organizers as we explore the interaction between digital and face-to-face,” said Al-Midfa.
Apart from Al-Midfa, Kai Hattendorf, vice-president, corporate communications, Messe Frankfurt, Germany; and Nichapa Yoswee, director, MICE Capabilities Development, TCEB, Thailand; will take part in the discussion. This will be moderated by Mr. Paul Woodward, Managing Director, UFI, France.
“In the GCC and across the world, we need to be early adapters of technology, be aware of changes taking place in the exhibitors’ space and increase our competitive posture vis-à-vis new technology,” said Al-Midfa.
Al-Midfa, however, said that despite the use of technology, in the end, emotion will play the strongest role to influence a decision to buy and electronic communication alone falls short when it comes to creating emotion.
Jochen Witt, CEO, JWC, Cologne, Germany, will also take a look ahead and review future challenges and opportunities for the market participants in his talk under the theme ‘The GCC exhibition market and future challenges’, while Kai Hattendorf will speak on ‘Management and control of corporate social media output and interaction’.
UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, is the association of trade show organizers, fairground owners, national and international associations of the exhibition industry, and its partners.
As of 2012, it has more than 600 members from 85 countries.
It regularly holds workshops and seminars that help its members take stock of the current ground realities and prepare them for future challenges.
Expo Center Sharjah became a member of UFI in 2009.