EW hears from UFI’s regional director Europe, Nick Dugdale-Moore, about what’s on the menu for the association’s European Conference, in Poznan, 4-6 May. Click here to read the feature in the EW April/ May 2022 magazine.
After some stop-start months for the industry, UFI is again looking to gather the sector’s clans for its regional conferences, including in Poznan, Poland. Tell us, Nick, about the planning for the European Conference, 4-6 May, and about your plans for the content and maximising the opportunity to bring people back together again face-to-face.
The main thing to say is that we are going ahead. We were first scheduled to have been in Poznan last year to celebrate the 100th anniversary of our hosts – Grupa MTP. That was postponed due to the pandemic, however; on our site visit back in February we seemed to be coming out of that crisis with a renewed sense of optimism and enthusiasm to meet when the military intervention in Ukraine began. Now Poznan, like all Polish cities, is diverting energy and resources to looking after Ukrainian refugees.
Nonetheless, our Polish hosts, the host association, and the Polish industry are united in their support for the conference to go ahead – they believe it is more important than ever for the industry to come together and meet face-to-face, so we are very happy to support them.
How will the conference template have changed for 2022 compared to previous editions and what can we expect in terms of a particularly Polish flavour to proceedings? Is it fair to say that the central/east European location also reflects some of the new membership coming into UFI in recent years?
Our hosts are keen to make this an unforgettable experience. The main conference takes place in a state of the art conference centre and the official hotels are on site. The two evening functions are in stunning locations which will show off the city in its best light. In terms of the format, it will be similar to our last event (Birmingham, 2019), however with some small improvements including speed networking sessions, workshops organised by the ETT Club (Exhibition Think Tank) and a few surprises.
Yes we have several new members in Eastern Europe in the last years, so it will be a great opportunity for them to first meet the UFI community face-to-face.
What are the main themes that we can expect to be covered in the content?
There are various themes that will be covered in the sessions: the changing business model of our industry, sustainability and the race to net zero, staffing and skills, data and digital, EU policy and advocacy. So, quite a broad range.
What advice would you offer first-timers considering attending, so they get the most from it?
The first step is just to show up. The UFI community is a very friendly, welcoming crowd. If you work in the exhibition industry in Europe, whether your show is international or not, you should come. The most important reason is to meet colleagues and peers from around Europe and beyond, which will help newcomers grow their professional networks and also generate business opportunities for their companies.
They should also learn things that they can implement in their shows and organisations the very next day, so it should make an immediate impact.
What kind of social programme can be expected?
The welcome reception will take place at Grupa MTP’s newly refurbished Port Solacz venue – a stunning waterside setting by Lake Solackie, only a few minutes from the main hotels and conference venue.
The Thursday networking dinner is in the town centre at one of Poznan’s smartest restaurants. The post-Conference tours are not finalised yet, but we have various options. Delegates should definitely consider staying on for the weekend, and visiting perhaps Krakow, Gdansk or other tourist destinations. Our hosts will be more than happy to advise.