ES. As the President-Elect for UFI in the next financial year what will be your thrust areas when you assume the new role?
Anbu. Being the President-Elect for UFI is an important responsibility and an opportunity to work closely with the global exhibition industry. This will also be an opportunity to advance Indian exhibition industry to its next level, enhance its brand image, improve the global connect and help the exhibition industry find global recognition. I am happy to support UFI’s mission and driving developments.
ES. How can UFI help in expanding the size, scale and scope of the exhibitions in India?
Anbu. UFI advocates for the support and development of exhibitions at various levels worldwide. It is dexterous in addressing challenges and implementing solutions for its members to stay relevant in business besides providing numerous networking opportunities for stakeholders for mutually beneficial collaboration. UFI conducts research and publishes reports relevant to the exhibition industry which will help exhibition organizers to explore new avenues. UFI also imparts training for exhibition industry professionals to prepare them to face the challenges of conducting large-scale exhibitions. Indian exhibition industry is growing and UFI continues to support it.
ES. Talking about the exhibition sector in India, how do you view it and what do you think are some of the key challenges surrounding it?
Anbu. Indian exhibition industry is growing at a pace of around 8-10% annually and it has the potential to grow at around 12% despite the current slowdown in some industry sectors. This is evident from the increasing exhibition portfolios and entry of new players into the market due to which exhibitions are becoming more organized. New venues are being set up and existing ones are upgraded. India is at the beginning of the S-curve and the country has lots of grounds to cover to become a leader in the global exhibition industry. Indian exhibition industry will need support from all stakeholders including the centre and state governments. We also need a well-structured ecosystem along with a workforce with requisite skills that can play a catalytic role for exhibition industry’s growth.
ES. How do you compare the state of infrastructure for exhibitions in India as against overseas?
Anbu. Globally, exhibitions are key enablers for trade development and industrial growth and due to this, governments in various countries invest substantially to develop exhibition infrastructure. This is true for South Asian countries as they have well developed exhibition infrastructure and support services. Situation in India is fast improving as we are at a nascent stage and is continuing to grow in terms of business and trade development.
We are seeing central and state governments developing venues including those with smaller and mid-size capacities to make trade fairs grow strong. This will pave way for development of exhibition infrastructure and expansion of shows not only in metros but also to Tier 2 cities. As this happens the quality of exhibitions, support services and exhibition industry outcome will improve significantly.
ES. Please share your thoughts on the role of women in exhibition industry?
Anbu. Women play an important role in the exhibition industry in a variety of roles. Working in the exhibition industry is a great career option for women. Exhibitions are places where markets meet and new products and technologies are unravelled. Working in the exhibition industry gives women an opportunity to work in diverse teams, travel, meet new people, do networking and cement relationships, and gain expertise in handling digital tools. Women leaders bring special abilities to the exhibition industry. Overall the exhibition industry will immensely benefit from women leaders as they are creative, good in people handling and have effective communication skills. A balanced combination in lead roles will offer more insights and opinions on a variety of decisions which can help influence people across all levels.