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Consolidation, New Technologies and Communication within the Industry: the 5th MICE Networking Forum

On December 9, the session named “Preservation and Development of the Congress and Exhibition Industry in the Region. The Goals of Regional Organizers and Exhibition Centers" was held as part of the general assembly of members of the Russian Union of Exhibitions and Fairs (RUEF). Among the participants were representatives of the event industry from Moscow, St. Petersburg, the Republic of Tatarstan, Sverdlovsk and Samara regions.

Daria Ostrovskaya, the session moderator and CEO of VNITs R&C, pointed out that the impact of the pandemic was the most severe for exhibition business in the regions. The event market in the constituent entities of the Russian Federation had lost 47% of profits in 2020 compared to the year earlier. That is why, according to Daria Ostrovskaya, such meetings are extremely important for determining the way of further restoration of the regional congress and exhibition business.

Elena Ublieva, Executive Director of RUEF and Director of Public Relations of Expoforum International, stressed that the union had been actively working on supporting the entire industry for the second year in a row. An operational headquarters for the discussion and development of ways to restore the event industry was created already back in 2020. The main result was the adoption of new regulatory legal act on the support of the industry by the Government of St. Petersburg. This includes a refund of tax payments for the property of convention and exhibition companies in 2021 and a 50% discount for 2022 given that the organization meets a number of requirements. Another achievement was the adoption of compensation for the costs of entrepreneurs of St. Petersburg for participation in events and provision of subsidies for organizing and holding exhibitions and congresses. “Regions can learn from the experience of St. Petersburg, and RUEF is ready to help each entity to achieve the same results,” said Elena Ublieva.

Andrei Levitan, CEO of Expo-Volga LLC, spoke about the experience of the Samara Exhibition Center during the pandemic. According to him, it is very important to establish a constructive dialogue with the local authorities. “To organize effective cooperation with the Government, we need to clearly convey our requirements to it with an understanding of the entire situation: that is, to think the project through in terms of how we can comply with epidemiological requirements with minimal losses for the business,” he shared.

Igor Danilov, CEO of UVTs JSC, gave an example of calculating the cost and profit of a single event for a company and a region. Summing up the presentation, he stated: “The economy of events constitutes to not only the financial results of the venue itself but to the complex impact it has on a number of sectors of the regional economy”.

Alexei Matveev, CEO of Business Media Russia LLC, presented a technological development named Exhibition System Operator (ESO). Presently, it is the exclusive provider of Expoforum services for all participants in the exhibition process - organizers, exhibitors, visitors. “We were faced with a strategic task: to make it possible to buy everything required for the creation of a project in one place - catering, installation of exhibition stands, design services, etc. - by using an online aggregator. In doing so, we have created a marketplace that can be used to optimize internal processes, have maximum control over the process of issuing services at all stages, increase the sales of additional services, and much more,” stated Alexei Matveev.

Also, the session was attended by Alexander Shtalenkov, CEO of MVK LLC, with a report on the formats of cooperation between organizers and venues, Igor Astafyev, Deputy CEO of ANO Kazan Expo, with a presentation on diversification of event formats, and Arkady Kiselyov, Deputy CEO and Head of the Ural Congress Bureau, Investment Promotion Agency of the Sverdlovsk Region, who spoke on the promotion of the region through online branding.

The general assembly of members of the Russian Union of Exhibitions and Fairs is held at the Expoforum Convention and Exhibition Center on December 9 through 11.

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