International exhibition industry enthusiastic about Maastricht

June 20, 2023

More than three hundred leading organisers of international trade shows and executives of venues and service companies active in the event industry learned last week about the many opportunities the city of Maastricht and MECC Maastricht have to offer. The UFI European Conference was held in Maastricht from 13 to 16 June 2023. As well as co-located events; the first UFI Event Directors’ Summit, the UFI HR Forum and the UFI Operations & Services Forum. Organised by UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, this annual conference has previously been held in cities such as Poznan (Poland), Birmingham (UK) and Verona (IT). Trends in the event industry, case studies and international speakers are all on the agenda during this annual conference. There was naturally ample opportunity to network and explore the MECC Maastricht venue along with the city and region.

Many topics were addressed during the conference ranging from recruitment strategies and digital innovations to emissions reduction and organising net-zero events. Along with the substantive programme, attendees learned about the many possibilities the city of Maastricht has to offer. The welcome reception was held at the Provinciehuis, and in the morning the UFI Sports Club took participants on a run or cycle ride through Maastricht. The networking dinner took place at Rebelle, and to conclude the conference, participants had the option of taking a city tour of Maastricht.

Ann Daniels – record-breaking polar explorer and renowned international speaker
During the opening ceremony, Ann Daniels, record-breaking polar explorer and renowned international speaker, told the audience all about the importance of strong leadership, teamwork, the right attitude, setting goals, coping with change, overcoming odds and the importance of perseverance. Along with expedition teammate Caroline Hamilton, Ann Daniels is the first woman in history to reach the North and South Poles as part of all the women’s teams. Since that first relay, she has taken part in more than 15 polar expeditions, guiding men and women through the world’s harshest environments. Ann understands that your actions as a leader affect the entire team; a good leader empowers their team to achieve more. She believes that with the right planning, attitude, and positive focus, people can achieve what they set out to do even under the most difficult of circumstances.

Kai Hattendorf, Managing Director / CEO of UFI: “It has been wonderful for the UFI community to experience the hospitality of our Maastricht colleagues and the city. Maastricht already has its place in the European history books – and this conference will be in the history books of UFI, having been the largest European Conference to date. Our members are excited about their experiences here and will take both memories and ideas for collaborations home.”

Rob van de Wiel, Managing Director of MECC Maastricht: “Hosting the UFI European Conference at MECC Maastricht has given us the opportunity to show what we are capable of as a venue as well as a city. The entire city has embraced the international exhibitions industry and shown its best side. Together, we have put Maastricht on the international map as a perfect exhibition location which will result in economic spin-off for the city and region.”

UFI is the global association of the world’s leading organisers of trade fairs and exhibition venues. In addition to this important network, UFI also brings together a cluster of national and international industry associations and a host of trade fair organisers. UFI’s primary objective is to represent, promote and support the business interests of its members and the trade fair industry in general. UFI represents 50,000+ employees worldwide, all of whom work in the trade fair industry, and also works closely with 64 international, national and regional associations. 820 organisations in 86 countries are currently registered as members.

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