UFI, the global association of the exhibitions industry, recently published the results of a new report titled “The Global Economic Impact of Exhibitions”.
Among the key findings were that exhibitions had a total output of US$325bn (£251bn) in annual business sales during 2018, and contributed US$198bn (£153bn) to global GDP.
That would rank exhibitions as the 56th largest economy in the world, larger than many whole countries including Hungary, Sri Lanka and Ecuador.
The report also shows that exhibitions saw 303 million direct visitors across more than 180 countries and 32,000 shows in 2018. In addition, the industry supported 3.1 million jobs worldwide.
Europe was the largest market in terms of visitors, welcoming 112 million in 2018. This represents 37% of global exhibition visitors in 2018. North America ranked second, with 91 million visitors, followed by the Asia-Pacific with nearly 82 million visitors.
The report was produced alongside Oxford Economics and was also supported by SISO (Society of Independent Show Organisers).
UFI president Craig Newman commented: “This truly is a first for our industry. This new data will support us when we talk to stakeholders about our industry, especially as it’s broken down into the direct, measurable economic impact per exhibiting company – right down to the economic value of every single square metre of venue exhibition space.
“And on top of that, it makes me proud to work for our industry, knowing that we are securing over three million jobs.”
The total impact of US$198bn in global GDP includes the direct spending and jobs that are specifically involved in planning and producing exhibitions, and for participants and exhibitors to travel to exhibitions, as well as other exhibition-related spending.
Following the ISO definitions, an exhibition, show or fair is defined as an event where products, services or information are displayed and disseminated. Exhibitions differ from conferences, conventions, seminars or other business and consumer events, and exclude flea markets and street markets.
Kai Hattendorf, UFI managing director and CEO, says: “We are happy to be able to provide this new set of data which highlights the impact of the exhibition industry. The methodology can be used at national level wherever needed, and we hope that it will contribute to consistent data across the world for this important element of economic impact.”
The full report can be viewed here: https://www.ufi.org/industry-resources/surveys-and-studies