Asia

UFI releases 18th Trade Fair Industry report, highlighting Asian exhibition market recovery – TravelDailyNews Asia

UFI’s latest report details remarkable recovery in Asia’s exhibition industry post-pandemic, with insights for 2023 and 2024 trends.

HONG KONG – UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, has released the 18th edition of its annual report on the Trade Fair Industry in Asia. This edition marks a restart of this report after the global pandemic. The report provides a detailed overview of the performance in 2022 of 17 exhibition markets in Asia. The report also provides insight and commentary into the scale of the recovery in 2023 and looks ahead to 2024.

Year-on-year comparisons have been rendered somewhat meaningless due to the global pandemic, so this report compares the performance of 2022 to 2019. It is important to note that during COVID, BSG’s bottom-up approach to estimates of net space sold was challenged by a dynamic and rapidly changing trading environment, as well as by the limited availability of accurate data during various lockdowns across the region. Despite these unique circumstances, the report provides reliable insight into the state of the Asian trade fair market in 2022.

Overall, BSG estimates that Asia recorded a huge 87% drop in net space sold in 2022 compared to 2019 as a result of the global pandemic. Net space sold fell from 24.5 million m2 in 2019 to just 3.2 million m2 in 2022.

Net space sold in most of the trade fair markets fell by 60% to 70% in 2022 vs 2019. This includes much of Southeast Asia and some of the larger trade fair markets such as Japan, India, and Korea.

China, which accounted for 60% of the region’s net space sold in 2019, was closed for all of 2022. As a result, more than 14 million m2 was effectively removed from the market. This was entirely driven by Beijing’s COVID-zero policies which prevented events from being held and kept China’s borders closed for all of 2022.

Hong Kong and Macau largely followed Beijing’s lead and net square metres sold in both of those two markets were down approximately 90% compared to the 2019 figures. Taiwan managed a modestly better performance with a more than 70% drop.

The good news is that all of the key exhibition markets have recorded a remarkable recovery in 2023. China, Japan, India, South Korea and Hong Kong account for more than 80% of net space sold in the region and all are expected to match or surpass net space sold in 2023 when compared to 2019 levels. And more growth is forecasted for 2024.

UFI Asia/Pacific Regional Manager and BSG Managing Director, Mark Cochrane, noted, “In 2022, the U.S. and European exhibition markets had begun to move on from COVID, but in Asia, many of the restrictions and challenges remained. In fact, China’s exhibition industry was non-existent in 2022. As a result, net square meters sold were at the lowest levels since this report was launched in 2004. The good news is that in 2023, the industry has rebounded much faster than expected.”

Kai Hattendorf, UFI Managing Director and CEO, commented, “The recovery that we have seen in Asia in 2023 is nothing short of remarkable. It demonstrates the resilience of our industry and the irreplaceable value of face-to-face interactions. This report is a valuable resource not only for its proprietary statistics and figures, but also for the insight it provides into the trends and challenges that will shape the Asian exhibition industry in 2024 and beyond.”


Student at the Department of Business Administration of the Athens University of Economics and Business.


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