UFI, the association of the world’s leading tradeshow organisers and fairground owners, organised the UFI Education Forum on Sustainability and UFI Open Seminar in Asia in Singapore from 21 to 24 February 2017.

Drawing over 200 delegates from 21 countries and territories, the events brought together a multinational crowd of dedicated individuals to share their insights and build connections.

UFI Education Forum on Sustainability

In a bid to encourage a more collaborative approach among sustainability champions in the exhibition industry, UFI organised the education forum on sustainability at Marina Bay Sands®. Held from 21 to 22 February, the event saw the participation of various industry leaders and representatives from across the globe.

Sustainability 2.0 opened with two simultaneous guided tours around some of Singapore’s sustainability landmarks, allowing visitors a closer look into the products of the nation’s sustainability efforts. The first tour brought participants around Marina Barrage, a dam built in the heart of the city and a symbol of Singapore’s sustainability efforts and the Sustainable Singapore Gallery where participants could explore the country’s sustainability plans through fun, interactive and innovative multimedia. The second tour showed participants around Marina Bay Sands® integrated resort and how they focused on resource conservation and technological innovations.

Delving into deeper discussions on sustainability initiatives, key individuals of the meeting and exhibition industry presented their insights through presentations, case studies and panel discussions. Expanding the dialogue to a global scale, speakers hailed from international organisations based in countries such as Taiwan, Thailand, China, and the United Kingdom. The conference also highlighted key initiatives from local authorities, venues and organisers who collaborated to achieve the ISO 20121 sustainable events standard. Ample networking opportunities were also arranged with open knowledge exchange sessions.

UFI Open Seminar in Asia 2017

Themed “Adapting and Upgrading”, the 12th edition of the UFI Open Seminar provided platforms for delegates to discuss and debate growth opportunities as well as a wide range of issues including Asia’s changing venue landscape, digital trends at events in China, and effectively mitigating security and safety risks at events around the region.

Building on the Congress programme held in Shanghai in January, the two-day seminar comprised networking opportunities, panel sessions and sharing by industry experts addressing key exhibition-related issues. Key speakers included Explori’s Mark Brewster, who shared his research on changing visitor and exhibitor demands; Adam Charles from Freeman XP, who provided delegates with insights into the latest innovations in event formats; and Kevin Hoong from Airbnb, who exposed the traditional exhibition industry to how business travel is transforming.

The event also included two panel sessions, the first of which focused on Asia’s rapidly changing venue landscape.  Michael Kruppe, General Manager of the Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC) venue in Shanghai, moderated a panel of venue managers from around the region including Aloysius Arlando, CEO of SingEx Holdings Pte Ltd Singapore, Helen Mantellato, Business Development Manager, International and Exhibitions at International Convention Centre Sydney, Australia and Panitha Buri, Managing Director of Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre (BITEC) Thailand, where they discussed new sources of revenues, new ways to stay competitive and new services that visitors are expecting from venues.

The second panel session centred on Singapore’s MICE 2020 Roadmap, where panellists from Singapore gave delegates an overview of Singapore’s vision for MICE and an update on where they are today and what they hope toachieve by 2020.

Post-seminar tour of Singapore

To close off the entire event, participants were given the option of choosing between two guided tours around Singapore. The first tour, “Makan-Makan—Let’s Eat”, introduced the group to Singapore’s culinary scene. The highlight of the tour was the peek into the food and beverage production industry in the country, with visits to various production factories, wholesalers and wet markets to observe and discover the ways in which Singaporeans’ favourite dishes are made. With new understanding on local food production, participants were then brought to lunch at a popular restaurant in the area to see the ingredients they had seen transformed into local dishes full of flavour.

The second tour, “The Way We Live, took visitors on a journey to experience how Singaporeans lived. From exploring a typical neighbourhood to witnessing how public housing are planned in Singapore, the tour also included a  visit to a Singaporean family at their Housing Development Board (HDB) flat to see for themselves why Singapore is consistently voted one of Asia’s most liveable cities.