The power of events and exhibitions | The Planner

At the AAXO Leadership Summit held yesterday, industry experts gathered to discuss the pivotal role of events and exhibitions in driving economic growth. The plenary panel think tank, titled “The Power of Events and Exhibitions in Fostering Economic Growth,” featured esteemed panellists from Trade and Investment Promotion Agencies who shared their insights and success stories.

Boosting local economies

The panel highlighted the significant impact that events and exhibitions have on local economies. These events drive increased tourism, create jobs, and spur business development. According to recent statistics, the global exhibition industry is experiencing a robust recovery post-COVID-19, with a notable 19.6% growth in value between 2022 and 2023. This recovery is a positive indicator of the industry’s potential to contribute to economic progress.

Success stories and strategies

Expert panellists shared various strategies and success stories from their regions. They emphasised the importance of understanding and leveraging local markets to maximise the benefits of events and exhibitions. For instance, countries like Rwanda have seen substantial growth in international associations, which has boosted their local economies. The panellists underscored the importance of aligning with regional strengths and focusing on sectors that have shown resilience and growth potential, such as agriculture and clean energy.

Insights from industry leaders

The panel provided valuable insights into harnessing the potential of the MICE sector for economic progress. They discussed the need for strategic planning and investment in infrastructure to support large-scale events. The role of exhibitions in promoting trade and investment was also highlighted, with examples of how exhibitions can attract international buyers and investors to local markets.

Addressing challenges and opportunities

The discussion also addressed the challenges faced by the industry, such as increasing costs and the need for sustainable practices. The panellists emphasised the importance of providing value to exhibitors and attendees, which includes not only logistical support but also creating meaningful engagement and networking opportunities. They also discussed the importance of supporting smaller, local events to drive inclusive economic growth and create opportunities in underserved communities.

Driving inclusive economic growth

A key focus of the panel was the role of events and exhibitions in driving inclusive economic growth. The panellists shared examples of initiatives that bring exhibitions to townships and rural areas, thereby fostering economic activity and job creation in these regions. They highlighted the need for collaboration between government and private sector stakeholders to ensure that the benefits of events and exhibitions are widely distributed.

The AAXO Leadership Summit’s plenary panel provided a comprehensive overview of how events and exhibitions can be powerful tools for economic development. By sharing success stories and strategies, the panellists highlighted the potential for the MICE sector to drive growth, innovation, and job creation. Their insights underscored the importance of strategic planning, investment in infrastructure, and inclusive practices to maximise the economic benefits of events and exhibitions.

As the global exhibition industry continues to recover and grow, the lessons and strategies shared at the summit will be invaluable for stakeholders looking to harness the power of events and exhibitions for economic progress.