Back in its usual spot in the calendar and in the hearts of the events industry, International Confex returned to ExCeL on 8 March.
For thousands of events professionals streaming through the doors of ExCeL on 8-9 March, the return of International Confex to its usual place in the calendar was a welcome indicator of industry’s return to full health.
The aisles were packed with organisers and suppliers were keen to be back at their event – with many saying the success of Confex was a barometer of the health the sector as a whole.
All the exhibitors said they made great connections. Reports of deals worth £180,000 were flying around the halls.
International Confex was co-located with Mash Media’s Event Production Show, the Publishing Show and the PA Shows to bring the events industry together.
Chair of the Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP), Chris Skeith OBE said: “International Confex is back, and I mean back back. I’ve attended Confex for many years, and I can’t remember the last time there was such a buzz amongst the visitors and exhibitors which is a great indicator for the whole business events sector going forward. All the right people were there, members, friends and acquaintances both old and new.
“I’d like to pass on a huge thank you to Liz and Julian Agostini and all the Mash team, not only for the best Confex yet, but for supporting the sector through a challenging couple of years, which I’m sure will pay dividends for all as trade and consumer shows get the UK back to business.”
Confex is the heartbeat of our event world.”
Chief executive of CISBE, Ruth Carter, said: “Confex is the heartbeat of our event world. If you stand in a fixed point at the show, sooner or later all the great and the good of the industry will walk past you.
“I knew it was going to be a good event as soon as I stepped off the train and there was that exciting crowd buzz of people all making their way to the show.
“I networked, discussed, exchanged, reconnected, learned and maybe had a few cheeky glasses of something cold and white along the way. All part of the magic that is Confex.”
Fellow exhibitors Unlocked said: “The Unlocked team had a wonderful time at International Confex. It’s great to see so many eventprofs under one roof. IRL events are certainly back in full swing.
“The event was really busy and it was clear to see that in-person attendance at MICE industry events has revived.
“The event was really busy and it was clear to see that in-person attendance at MICE industry events has revived. The majority of event organisers we spoke with also mentioned that their in-person events calendars were already jam packed for 2022.”
Confex reconfirms that the UK events industry is world class at what we do.”
Sustainability was a key topic amongst attendees, with show director Liz Agostini putting herself on stage and to face a grilling on Confex’s sustainability credentials.
“International Confex is complete and utter testimony to the resilience, power and outright bloody-mindedness of the events industry,” said Liz Agostini.
“Our last outing in September 2021 brought the hardcore of the events industry to ExCeL and since then we’ve been through countless new peaks, variants, social distancing measures, quarantine rules, false dawns and false starts. Now we can all agree that the skies are clearing, the road ahead is straight and the future looks bright.
“More than a third of our exhibitors this year were brand new and the show floor was rammed with innovative new suppliers, mind-boggling event tech providers, brand new event spaces and iconic venues and destinations who have been brave enough to invest heavily over the last two years.
“Conversations in the theatres were transformed with topics of sustainability, diversity and inclusion which are now fundamental guiding principles of event planning rather than nice-to-haves.
“As always, at its heart, Confex will be a celebration of everything and everybody that makes our wonderful, indefatigable industry the best in the world and our heartfelt thanks go out to all our fantastic exhibitors, sponsors and speakers who make Confex the leading event for UK eventprofs and who have done so for 39 years now.
We couldn’t do it without you.”
This article appears in the April issue of Exhibition News.
Main picture Jonathan ‘JT’ Taylor at Aniseed Photo.