UFI’s regional director in the Asia Pacific Mark Cochrane on the new format of the association’s regional conference - UFI Asia-Pacific Week:
It seems that the Covid pandemic may finally be receding in Asia. Many markets are now moving to re-open borders and remove social gathering restrictions. Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore, Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines and India have all made moves to ease restrictions. There are some important exceptions – Mainland China and Hong Kong remain in midst of significant Covid outbreaks.
Despite progress towards getting back to business, for the third year in a row the annual UFI Asia Pacific Conference cannot be held in its traditional format. Normally, the UFI Asia Pacific Conference is a two-day event that attracts upwards of 300 delegates from Asia and beyond.
This year, instead of yet another virtual event, UFI decided to find an innovative way for members in Asia to gather. We asked for members in cities across Asia to take the lead in organising physical gatherings and activities – of course, while still adhering to local Covid health and safety restrictions.
Our members responded with enthusiasm and creativity. We are expecting more than a dozen gathering and activities under the UFI in Asia Week banner. The events run 28 March-1 April. Cities with planned activities include: Tokyo, Macau, Kuala Lumpur, Sydney, Melbourne, New Delhi, Lahore, Manila, Singapore, Seoul and Bangkok to name a few!
Unfortunately, there are a few key markets that look unlikely to be able to host any physical gathering at all due to Covid restrictions. Hong Kong remains in the midst of its largest wave of Covid infections and no physical gatherings are permitted. Similarly, in Mainland China, Shenzhen, Beijing and Shanghai are currently in various levels of lockdown.
- Despite those limitations, we are excited to see a wide variety of member-led events and activities – everything from charity runs to networking cocktails to dinners to mini-seminars. Some examples include.
- MyCEB in Malaysia is taking the lead in organising a food donation programme called Jom Makan & Food Donation Drive on 29 March.
- SACEOS in Singapore has a Waterfront Walk planned on 1 April.
- In Bangkok, TEA and TCEB are taking the lead in organising multiple events including a golf day and a seminar focused on the role of technology in events.
- In Seoul, COEX is organising an afternoon of food and music and an open discussion on the future of Korea’s exhibition industry.
- In China, three separate, day-long active events are planned (subject to Covid restrictions)
- On 30 March, The Power of China's Exhibitions - Camping, BBQ and Water Sports (Shanghai), takes place at the Shanghai Yacht Sailing Center.
- On 31 March, The Power of China’s Exhibitions - Industry Innovation Seminar takes place at the Lianhuashan International Yacht Club, Guangzhou.
- And, on 1 April , The Power of China's Exhibitions - Seminar and 5K Health Walk at the China National Convention Center, Beijing.
The UFI Week in Asia website offers details about the activities planned in all of the participating cities across the region. In addition, during the week you can follow along on social media as the hashtag #UFIAsia will be used by participants on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. UFI will also post photos and video clips from all of the cities listed on the UFI Week in Asia website.