Congress Programme

The Dynamics of Transition – Our Industry’s Complex Future


From consolidation to digitisation, from investments to restructurings, from fast-track hiring to long-term retention - in an increasingly complex world, constant change has become a reality. And the changes are coming hard and fast - each with its specific challenges - whilst providing boundless possibilities and opportunities!

What is your role in our industry’s complex future?

Join us at the UFI 85th Global Congress as we discuss these developments, share best practices, review the latest research and look at innovations from all around the world. Connect with your peers, make new contacts, and take home with you those insights that will help drive your business forward in 2019 and beyond. We invite you to be with us in St. Petersburg, Russia, for our industry’s largest global meeting of the year!

Wednesday 31 October

12:30 - 13:30

Light Buffet Lunch

13:30 - 14:30

UFI General Assembly

Open to UFI members only, our association's General Assembly provides the annual updates. Join us and learn about all UFI-related developments and changes that have taken place throughout the year.
14:30 - 15:00

Networking and Refreshments

15:05 - 16:40

UFI Xchange - Focus on Destinations

Join these short, sponsor-driven TED-style sessions and learn about the following destinations and how they can support your show launches and other opportunities
15:05 - 15:25

UFI Xchange - South Africa: at the forefront of Trade Exhibitions in Africa

Speaker: Neil Nagooroo, General Manager: Exhibitions and Strategic Events
Sponsored by
15:30 - 15:50

UFI Xchange - Aichi Sky Expo in Japan

Speaker: Tomohiro Nomura, Director General, Department of Regional Development and Tourism
Sponsored by
15:55 - 16:15

UFI Xchange - Qatar

Speaker: Ahmed Al Obaidli, Director of Exhibition, Qatar Tourism Authority
Sponsored by
16:20 - 16:40

UFI Xchange - Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Centre

Speaker: Daben Mao, Deputy General Manager
Sponsored by
19:30 - 22:00

Welcome Reception

Welcome to the Congress - welcome to St. Petersburg! Meet old colleagues and friends and make new contacts as our global community gets together whilst discovering the spirit of Russia.
Sponsored by

Thursday 01 November

6:30 - 7:45

UFI Running Club

The ideal way to break the ice and get to know your industry peers.
Join the running club for an invigorating jog, whatever your fitness level.
Sponsored by
9:00 - 9:15

Official Opening

Howard Klein
Corrado Peraboni
Kai Hattendorf

The UFI 2018 President Corrado Peraboni will open the 85th Global Congress, and Howard Klein will set the stage.
9:15 - 10:00

To boldly go…

With : Sergey Ryazanski, Cosmonaut (Russian Federation)

Lift off for the Congress! - and we will head straight for the "bigger picture" - a perspective from space. Nations from around the world are collaborating to operate the planet's most special venue space - the International Space Station. Cosmonaut Sergej Ryazanski will share insights into how to adapt quickly to changing challenges and expectations.
10:00 - 10:45

BRIC revisited

Graziano Messana, Fiera Milano Brasil (Brasil)
Darya Ostrovskaya, R&C Market Research Company (Russian Federation)
Anbu Varathan, Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (India)
David Zhong, VNU Exhibitions Asia (China)

With the UFI Congress taking place in a BRIC country, we will revisit these particular markets and their potential as they generate new sources of attention - from China’s "Belt and Road" to Latin American comebacks, from Russian resurgence to India's investments.
Sponsored by
10:45 - 11:30

Networking and Refreshments

Sponsored by
11:30 - 12:30

Digital Transformation

Matthias Tesi Baur, MBB-Consulting Group (UK)
Stephan Forseilles, Artexis Easyfairs (Belgium)
Daniela Stack, Deutsche Messe AG (Germany)

Every one of us is confronted and faced with Digital Transformation: By impacting our everyday life, our industry and the whole society, it is much more than just technology.
Tesi Bauer and Stephane Forseilles from the UFI Digital Innovation Committee together with Daniela Stack have prepared something special for you:
an intensive 1-hour Digital Conference which will cover digital doubt, digital amazement and digital transformation.

• What frightened me the most by Stephan Forseilles
• What amazed me the most by Tesi Baur
• What changed me the most by Daniela Stack

Followed by a panel discussion where YOU will tell us what emotions and questions Digital Transformation brought into your life.
12:30 - 13:30

Networking Lunch

Sponsored by
13:30 - 14:30

About the economy

Stephane Garelli, University of Lausanne (Switzerland)

“Time to Look at the World Differently” - A competitiveness outlook for 2019, and beyond

Let's talk economic growth, sentiments and fall-outs from protectionism. Let's review GDP, EPS, and stock indices. Let's discuss false news, perceptions, buying patterns, and expectations. Or - in short: Time for an economist's roundup.
14:30 - 15:15

Networking and Refreshments

Sponsored by
15:15 - 16:15

Special Interest Group Sessions (SIG) Part I

UFI's Special Interest Group Sessions offer Congress participants the chance to zoom into specific topics in a more intimate environment. The sessions are fast-paced and interactive. During this first time slot, we will run parallel sessions on the following topics:

SIG Large Venues

Antonio Bruzzone, BolognaFiere (Italy)
Carin Kindbom,The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre (Sweden)
Mao Daben, Shenzhen World Exhibition and Convention Centre (China)

Andreas Gruchow, Deutsche Messe AG Hannover (Germany)
Nick Dugdale-Moore, UFI (UK)
Corrado Peraboni, UFI President 2018

This year’s Large Venue SIG will take the form of a brief intro from our panellists and moderators, followed by a workshop session wherein delegates will have the chance to discuss one or more of the following questions in greater detail:
- What are the current/main venue challenges/issues facing large venues? What needs to be considered for renovation of a venue?
- What are today’s priorities when renovating a venue: venue size, venue format, technology (venue signage), infrastructure (hotels, parking, traffic management etc.)?
- Role of sustainable developmnt
- What are the priorities/needs of a newly build venue? What does its business model look like?
- What are the new long-term venue trends?

SIG Best Practice cases from the 2018 UFI Awards I

Angela Herberholz, UFI (France)
Sharing best practices is at the heart of our association, and with the annual UFI award programme, we receive many outstanding industry success stories to share among industry professionals. During this Special Interest Group, the 2018 UFI Award winners will present their innovative industry solutions in the fields of:

- Human Resources: Successful changes in the exhibition industry: the strategic role of HR as business partners, presented by Arun Madhok, Suntec (Singapore)
- Operations & Services: Smart and innovative use of technology for improving event productivity, presented by Andreas Holmgren, Stockholmsmässan (Sweden)

SIG Women in the exhibition industry

Carina Bauer, IMEX Group (UK)
Gwen Kaufmann, Deutscher Fachverlag (Germany)
Mary Larkin, Diversified Communication (USA)
Monica Lee-Müller, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (Management) Limited (Hong Kong)
Sonia Thomas, UFI (France)

Based on a survey titled “ Women in the exhibition industry – equal status or lagging behind" conducted by UFI and m+a, the panelists will discuss the role of women in the exhibition industry based on the survey's findings and feedback.
Sponsored by
16:15 - 17:00

Networking and Refreshments

Sponsored by
17:00 - 18:00

Special Interest Group Sessions (SIG) Part II

UFI's Special Interest Group Sessions offer Congress participants the chance to zoom into specific topics in a more intimate environment. The sessions are fast-paced and interactive. In this time slot, we will run parallel sessions on the following topics:

SIG HR Management

Cecilia Henningsson, Stockholmsmässan (Sweden);
Enio Gualandris, Fiera Milano (Italy);
Stefan Rummel, Messe München (Germany)
Said al Shanfari, CEO at Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre (Oman)

Technology can't replace human interaction but we need to combine both human and digital elements to ensure the future of our industry. Today’s HR challenges are strongly connected to digitalisation, and the increased need to develop competencies, drive change and secure competitive organisations.
During this session HR experts and participants will discuss how digital innovation changes people’s culture, and how they work and interact within organisations.

SIG Global Visitor Insights

Sophie Holt, Explori (UK)
Jimé Essink, UBM Asia Limited (HK)
Jana Dewitz, Messe Berlin (Germany)

Based on exclusive new research commissioned for the Congress, UFI research partner Explori drills down into the expectations of visitors. With participation from 21 countries in 14 languages, the Global Visitor Insights project represents the largest study ever undertaken into the experience of trade show visitors around the world. The study captures a visitor’s perspective on key trends, from the impact of new technology to sustainability and inclusion. This presentation aims to identify regional trends, visitor priorities for the future direction of the industry and the strengths and challenges of trade shows vs. competing information channels. Report author, Sophie Holt will present the findings of the UFI / Explori Global Visitor Insights study and discuss the findings with a panel of industry leaders.

SIG Best Practice cases from the 2018 UFI Awards II

Angela Herberholz, UFI (France)
Sharing best practices is at the heart of our association, and with the annual UFI award programme, we receive many outstanding industry success stories to share among industry professionals. During this Special Interest Group, the 2018 UFI Award winners will present their innovative industry solutions in the fields of:

- Digital Innovation: Exhibition Industry 4.0, presented by Arun Madhok, Suntec (Singapore)
- Marketing: Innovative formats creating marketing success, presented by Lilian Burgardt, Informa (Brazil)

In this session, we will as well share the themes of the 2019 UFI Awards that are already known
20:00 - 23:00

UFI Congress Grand Night Out

at: Catherine’s Palace

As night falls over Russia, be ready for a very special Russian evening!
Sponsored by

Friday 02 November

8:30 - 9:00

Networking and Refreshments

Sponsored by
9:00 - 9:15

Welcome again!

9:15 - 10:15

A Cultural Transformation for the Next Generation

Lilian Burgardt, Informa (Brazil)
Glen Foulstone, GES (UK)
Miranda Martin, Fresh Montgomery (UK)
Maria Tsedeviyn, Expoforum International (Russian Federation)

Join our 2018 NGL grant recipients as they discuss issues and opportunities our industry faces, with a view into community, emotional engagement, digital experiences and attracting talent. A session for those interested in a millennial perspective on how to appeal to future generations.
Sponsored by
10:15 - 11:00

Networking and Refreshments

Sponsored by
11:00 - 12:00

UFI Regional Chapter Meetings

David Zhong, VNU Exhibitions Asia (China)
Craig Newman, Johannesburg Expo Centre (South Africa)
José Navarro Meneses, E.J. Krause Tarsus (Mexico)
Gerald Böse, Koelnmesse (Germany)

This is the time for UFI's four chapters to meet - to update on developments in their respective parts of the world, and to discuss ongoing initiatives and activities.
12:00 - 12:15

Networking Break

Sponsored by
12:15 - 13:10

The Year in Review / What lies ahead?

Chet Burchett, Reed Exhibitions (UK)
Eric Everard, Easyfairs (Belgium)
Jo-Anne Kelleway, Info Salons Group (Australia)
Rachel Wimberly, Trade Show News Network (USA)

This will be the moment to review and discuss the year's most important developments for our industry - and look ahead to what will shape exhibitions and business events in 2019
13:10 - 13:35

Wrap up & Outlook

Howard Klein, Corrado Peraboni, Craig Newman, Kai Hattendorf

With a wrap up by our moderator, the "passing of the torch" to the next UFI President, and the invitation by our UFI Congress Host destination in 2019.
13:35 - 14:35

Networking Lunch

Sponsored by
14:35 - 16:35

Focus on Russia

The Russian Union of Exhibitions and Fairs (RUEF) is hosting a workshop focused on doing business in Russia. This session is open to local industry professionals and all those UFI members interested in meeting and talking about the Russian market.

Moderator: Paul Colston, Managing Editor at Mash Media
Welcoming words by: Kai Hattendorf

Part 1. Prospects of Development of the Exhibition Industry in the Russian Federation

Georgy Kalamanov, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation
Sergey Katyrin, President of the chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, Moscow
Sergey Alekseev, President of the Russian Union of Exhibitions and Fairs (RUEF), Vice-President of ExpoForum-International Ltd
Pankevich Evgeny, Chairman of the Committee for Tourism Development of St. Petersburg

Part 2. The Experience of Exhibitions and Congresses in Russia

Sergey S. Bednov, Vice-President of the Russian Union of Exhibitions and Fairs (RUEF), General Director of Expocentre Ltd
Sergey G. Voronkov, General Director of ExpoForum-International Ltd
Vasily E. Grudev, Investment Department Director, Far East Investment and Export Agency, Ministry for the development of the Russian Far East
Eugen Alles, Managing Director, Messe Frankfurt RUS LLC
Thomas Stenzel Managing Director, Messe Dusseldorf Moscow LLC
Sponsored by

Saturday 03 November

09:00 - 16:30

Post Congress Tour

Take the time to view the beauty and sights of St. Petersburg in the company of your peers - the post Congress tours are a great opportunity to explore this historical and world-renowned destination before you head back home.


   stpetersburg expoforum LR 

UFI Diamond Sponsors

GES New 70     QTA-Logo-70
SZW logo 70          TCEB

With support of

    STP GOV LOGO 70 Logo-SPB-CVB-70 

Silver Sponsors

DHL rgb 70Expocentre logo


AICHI logo 70anyplan logo 70Astana-CVB-logo-70
August-Robotics-logo-70Bashkortostan-new-logo-70biec logo 70
Ego---logo---70 fairmate by dimedis final cut 70Gielissen-Logo-2016 70
Glisser-Logo-70 Kuehne-Nagel-logo 70-2 MBS Logo 70
myceb logo 180mm FC CMYK 70RX logo 70
RESTEC logo 70SNIEC logo 70
SA-Tourism-Logo-70STUDIODEGA-logo-70TAITRA logo 70
 TBS logo 70VDNH logo new 70Videofabrika-logo-70 


UFI Registration & Running Club Partner            UFI Digital Partner

                   Info Salons                Poken logo 70

UFI Software Partner            UFI Mobile Partner

Ungerboeck Software International       Goomeo

UFI Research Partner            Congress Logistics Partner

           Explori              Schenker logo 70

UFI Media Partners

CICE     Exhibition Showcase     Exhibition World    Lam Lats 
  MA  Grupo Radar weblogo     Trade Show Executive     TSNN