Exhibition sector to sustain growth in 2024

Mar 29, 2024

FURTHER global exhibitions growth is projected in 2024 as industry stakeholders keep collaborating with local governments to build more event venues and usable spaces.

According to Pamela D. Pascual, chairman and CEO of World Trade Center Metro Manila (WTCMM) and Board Member of the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA), exhibits gain from the global economy mainly through the immense amount of trade that they facilitate or promote.

“Exhibitions serve all of the vertical industries from manufacturing to construction, food and beverage, packaging, heavy equipment, agriculture, fisheries, and so on,” said the top executive, who was recently elected to the Board of Directors of Union des Foires Internationales (UFI) for the 2023-2026 term.

The global exhibitions sector is a big contributor to worldwide economic growth and cross-border trade, she said.

In fact, the UFI noted in the annual report on the Trade Fair Industry in Asia it released in October of this year that all major exhibition markets in Asia, such as China, Japan, India, South Korea, and Hong Kong, which account for more than 80 percent of net space sold in the region, are all expected to match or surpass net space sold in 2023 compared to 2019 levels, and an uptrend is also seen in 2024.

This is a welcome development for the regional economy, given the amount of trade receipts and spending that exhibitions can produce. UFI and Oxford Economics—in their analysis of the Global Impact of Exhibitions released last year—found that exhibitions generated $82.3 billion of direct gross domestic product (GDP) and over 1.4 million direct jobs in 2019.

Of these totals, the Asia Pacific region ranked third behind North America and Europe with $17.6 billion in direct GDP, supporting 394,000 direct jobs.

“The demand is even much stronger today than it was two years ago. There is currently a lineup of shows available in the market, for instance, that are waiting for spaces to open up at the World Trade Center Metro Manila,” Pascual said.

She added that the exhibition market has significantly surged over the years, such that even prior to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, both the public and private sectors in countries like the Philippines realized the urgent need to expand available exhibition spaces so as to meet the demand.

With this in mind, Pascual pointed out that government support is needed to allocate land where exhibition venues can be developed and to attract investors to finance the construction of capital-intensive facilities.

“Through our work with UFI, we aim to sustain the growth of the exhibition industry in Asia and to further strengthen the level of professionalism, human capital, and technical expertise in order to serve a larger market,” she added.

The World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) will hold its 54th annual Global Business Forum (GBF) from March 3 to 6, 2024 in Bengaluru, India. This is a conclave of representatives from member World Trade Center businesses and leaders in business, government, and international organizations.

Themed “EPIC: Empowering Progress through Innovation & Collaboration,” the 2024 GBF, hosted by World Trade Center Bengaluru, seeks to highlight the region’s economic potential and center on business and trade opportunities in 12 diverse industries.