Programming and conversations: Oman hosts mem...
Programming and conversations

Oman hosts memorable UFI Global Congress

Photo: UFI

UFI welcomed more than 400 UFI delegates, from over 50 countries and regions, to its 89th annual Global Congress in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, from 14 to 17 November. The Global Congress is always the largest, most international, and final event of the year for UFI members. It aims to build on the programming and conversations that occurred at all its events throughout the year and give a preview into the industry for 2023. The global industry was hosted by the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre and markets like Germany, Italy, the UK, US, India and, of course, the GCC region sent significant numbers of participants. Oman’s Minister for Heritage and Tourism, Salim bin Mohammed bin Said Al Mahroqi, attended the Congress opening and held talks with the UFI leadership, underlining the importance of the sector for the development of Oman. Summarising the event UFI CEO Kai Hattendorf says: “This year’s Congress will be remembered for a long time. We returned to the Middle East for the first time in ten years, and we see significant progression in the industry throughout the region, with more markets growing their infrastructure and offerings for our sector. We re-balanced the mix between networking and content time. The networking areas were buzzing, the stands of our partners were busy. We were delighted to welcome many first time attendees, and we’re even more pleased to know they left with new peers and contacts.” The Grand Night Out took place outdoors under the stars at magical Turtle Bay, and included many local cultural experiences. The Post Congress Day tours took around 200 participants to the Grand Mosque, the Muscat Souk, and to selected other sites of the Sultanate.

„This industry of ours is a ‘catalyst. It is a wonderful way to bring people and communities and our hopes and aspirations together“
Michael Duck, UFI President
With around 60 speakers from around the world, the Congress delivered a mix of keynotes and breakout sessions.O pening speaker (and two times Oscar winner) Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoi showed the audience the power of story in transforming the world. She helped the audience to understand how the invisible can be brought into view and how we all have the power to change the way we think and view culture. Sandy Angus, outgoing Chairman at Montgomery Group, led the first edition of a new format, the “Global Exhibition Industry Board Meeting”, where leaders discussed today’s challenges and mid-term strategies. Through a mix of session formats, delegates could engage directly in topics of specific relevance to them. The xChange stage provides an additional segment with presentations from destinations and event tech companies. UFI members can access all the talks and presentation in the members section of the UFI website.

At the close of the Congress, Michael Duck, EVP at Informa Markets, formally took over the office of UFI President for the year to come. Addressing the global UFI community, he says: “This industry of ours is a ‘catalyst. It is a wonderful way to bring people and communities and our hopes and aspirations together. I am hugely honoured to be in this position as your president, and I will ensure that I will work hard with the UFI team and the board to bring back our industry from the challenges of covid and other economic and geopolitical matters which have affected both our business and personal lives.“