The global exhibition industry on track to hit record levels in 2024


The exhibition industry has fully recovered from the pandemic slump in 2023 in most markets around the world, according to UFI’s latest Global Exhibition Barometer.

Revenues have reached a comparable level to 2019 on average and are expected to grow by an average of 15 per cent, setting the industry up for record revenue levels in 2024.

Globally, more than half (52%) of companies declare that they plan to increase their workforce in the coming six months, and 45 per cent declare that they will keep current staff numbers stable.

In terms of operating profits compared with 2019 levels, around half of the companies are declaring an increase of more than 10 per cent for 2023, and one in four a stable one.

Compared with 2022, six companies out of 10 are declaring an increase of more than 10 per cent. The highest proportion of companies expecting a profit increase of more than 10 per cent when compared with 2019 are in the UAE (91%), Saudi Arabia (80%), India (71%), Brazil (67%) and Mexico (64%).

The most pressing issue (22%) is the “state of the economy in home market” followed by “global economic developments” (17%). Globally, there is an overwhelming consensus (91%) that AI will affect the industry, up from 87 per cent in the previous report.

“Our report shows that the exhibition industry hasn’t just reached pre-pandemic levels in 2023 but is also planning to grow in 2024 and many new jobs in exhibitions are coming up around the world,” said Kai Hattendorf, managing director and CEO at UFI.

“This good news comes in parallel with shifts of business priorities, where economic and environmental considerations show significant progression.”