by Meetings and Conventions Asia | May 08, 2020
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New standards: The UFI framework is intended to become a de facto standard in exchanges with authorities around the world. Credit: UFI

PARIS - A new framework that is designed to give authorities the confidence to allow exhibitions to reopen has been launched by UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry.

The framework is aimed at the safe and controlled reopening of exhibitions and B2B trade events around the world. The document is intended to become a de facto standard in exchanges with policy makers and authorities around the world.

The framework was put together by a specialist taskforce of partners and industry leaders, whose operational recommendations reflect emerging regulatory conditions around the world. It provides an advocacy narrative on why exhibitions must be prioritised for reopening, which UFI is counting on industry stakeholders to endorse.

All aspects of exhibition design and delivery are accommodated in the framework, ranging from the event environment to a reconsideration of the customer journey.

It aims to provide governments and health authorities around the world with the information they require to confidently give the green light to exhibitions.

"The ability of associations to lead and help foster discussion and debate across whole industries makes us central to a crisis such as the outbreak of Covid-19," says UFI president, Mary Larkin.

"UFI prides itself on a network of members and partners that sits at the forefront of exhibition industry development, and consequently we have some of the world's leading authorities working with us on this framework. We hope that the industry comes together in support of this initiative and helps make the framework synonymous with our industry's recovery."

The framework is intended as a working document, subject to ongoing input that will be used to provide concrete examples. It covers areas like personnel and personal safety, physical distancing, increased health and safety regulations, the implementation of crowd control, and the encouragement and enforcement regulations - all before, during, and after the event respectively.

By embracing and promoting the framework, the industry can not only ensure a unified approach to their day-to-day management but engage in re-opening talks with authorities and governments on all levels - the bodies that give licence for exhibitions to take place.

UFI will continue the exchange with organisers, venues, service providers and industry associations to add further input and expand the framework with concrete examples of good practice from around the world. Ongoing dialogue with the industry as a whole will increase both the framework's efficacy, and the likelihood that stakeholders adhere to its stated health and safety recommendations.

MD and CEO of UFI, Mr Kai Hattendorf, says: "Exhibitions are distinct from other large events. Crowd management, visitor flow and adherence to operational protocols can be tightly managed. A strong framework provides a compelling case for the recommencement and continuation of this vital industry.

"By pledging to ensure the health and safety of all exhibition participants, tradeshows can resume their rightful place as a proven fast track to trade and market recovery."

For more information on the framework, visit www.ufi.org/coronavirus.