Exhibitions a US$325 bn global industry – UFI report

by Editorial Team
2 minutes read

The global exhibitions industry realised US$325 billion in sales and supported 3.2 million
jobs the world in 2018. This was revealed by the UFI – the Global Association of the
Exhibitions Industry in a report entitled “Global Economic Impact of Exhibitions” which it
released this month in time for this year’s Global Exhibitions Day that was commemorated
the world over on 5 June 2019.
Globally exhibitions received 303 million visitors while 4.5 million exhibitors participated in
32 000 exhibitions held in over 180 countries in 2018. A total of 138 million square metres
were sold during the year under review.
According to the report which is based on a research, which was carried out by Oxford
Economics on behalf of the UFI and supported by the Society of Independent Show
Organisers (SISO), exhibitions generated nearly US$137 billion direct spending.
“In 2018, approximately 32 000 exhibitions sold nearly 138 million square metres across
more than 180 countries. Exhibitions generated nearly US$136.9 billion of direct spending by
visitors, exhibitors and additional exhibitions-related expenditure. North America and Europe
ranked first and second in direct spending, representing 44% and 34% of total global direct
spending in 2018 respectively,” read the part of the report.
Together with indirect sales of US$261.1 billion the industry realised total sales of US$325
The global exhibition industry hosted 303 million visitors across more than 180 countries.
“Europe was the largest market in terms exhibition participants hosting 112 million visitors,
representing more than one third of total visitors worldwide in 2018. North America ranked
second hosting 91.2 million visitors in 2018. Asia/Pacific ranked third with 81.5 million
visitors, representing 26.9 of global visitors. Central and South America, the Middle East and
Africa followed each hosting less than 10 million visitors in 2018,” the report indicated.
The global exhibitions industry contributed more than US$197.5 billion to the total world
gross domestic product (GDP). If the industry was a national economy it would rank as the
56 th largest in world and beat many economies such as Kuwait, Oman and Bulgaria among

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