Joint meeting of 5pEXPO and the Committee on Exhibition, Fair and Convention Activity discussed the industry’s new realities

23 / 06 / 2022

Today’s plenary session of the 12th International Forum of the Exhibition Industry 5pEXPO was held jointly with a meeting of the Committee on Exhibition, Fair and Convention Activity of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the topic of From Import Substitution to Import Transformation: Exhibition and Congress Activities as a Factor of Russian Business Development.  These events are part of the programme of the 30th anniversary of the Russian Union of Exhibitions and Fairs held at EXPOCENTRE Fairgrounds. 

The joint plenary meeting was moderated by Alexey Vyalkin, Chair at the Committee on Exhibition, Fair, and Convention Activity of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Vice President at the Russian Union of Exhibitions and Fairs, and   Director General at EXPOCENTRE AO. According to him, the history of EXPOCENTRE is tightly bound to the history of RUEF. EXPOCENTRE was involved in the creation of RUEF, and their joint activities contributed to the establishment and development of the exhibition and congress industry in Russia.

To coincide with the 30th anniversary of RUEF, EXPOCENTRE and the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry have held an extraordinary 5pEXPO Forum. The need for it was dictated by the situation that is emerging now due to the well-known changes and strongly affecting the exhibition industry due to the departure or suspension of many foreign companies in our country, including event organisers and exhibitors, said Alexey Vyalkin.

He recalled that between March 2019 and March this year, more than 70% of the companies involved in the industry incurred significant losses, 10% went out of business and 64% cut jobs. Therefore, the choice of the general topic of 5pEXPO and its four main expert sessions, which preceded the plenary session, was driven by the urgency of maintaining the industry's development vector in the current extreme conditions and the search for new formats and areas of work, explained Alexey Vyalkin.

The expert sessions discussed extremely important issues of promoting Russian products through trade shows and congresses in the new environment, further digitalisation of the industry, using trade shows to attract investment and promote innovative products, start-ups and new developments, as well as challenging issues of interaction with the authorities and improving the effectiveness of state support measures, said Mr. Vyalkin. 

He then gave the floor to Sergey Katyrin, President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It is difficult to overestimate the role of RUEF in exhibition activities. Without having any legislative base, RUEF managed to bring order to the country's exhibition activities, the whole work of the industry was built independently, said the head of the Chamber.

Speaking about what needs to be done together in the coming period, Sergey Katyrin noted the need to preserve the ties that have been built up, including with Western countries, because every quarrel always ends in peace, which sooner or later will come and it will be necessary to build ties. They will also have to work with us, he added.

In his opinion, new regions and new markets should also be developed. These are the African continent, the Pacific region, and Latin America.  Another area where we should move forward is the use of trade shows to attract investment and promote new investment projects. And, of course, exhibition activities need a legal framework in the form of an appropriate federal law, says the Chamber’s President.

Continuing the meeting, Alexey Vyalkin in his turn also underlined that interaction with the legislative authorities plays a great role for the exhibition community. The Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has developed a draft Federal Law on Exhibition, Fair and Congress Activities. The moderator expressed a general hope that this draft law would be considered by the State Duma in its forthcoming autumn session.  

Deputy Chair at the Russian State Duma Committee on Science and Higher Education Vladimir Kononov stated that “there are many events taking place at EXPOCENTRE Fairgrounds this week, in particular it is RENWEX 2022. Renewable Energy and Electric Vehicles, where we are holding our own events”.

As a recently elected Chair at the Central Council of VOIR – the All-Russian Society of Inventors and Rationalizers, Vladimir Kononov said he was looking forward to cooperation between EXPOCENTRE, the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and VOIR. Alexey Vyalkin and Vice President at the Chamber Maksim Fateev joined the Presidium of the VOIR Central Council. “I would like to see EXPOCENTRE as the main venue showing the best developments of Russian inventors. Maybe we can hold a big annual show of achievements of Russian innovators”, said Mr. Kononov. He also mentioned such an important area for expanding cooperation as the joint project NTI-EXPO (Science-Technology-Innovations-Expo), which already includes five large-scale congresses and trade shows: Russian Week of High Technologies, RENWEX, Russian Industry Week, Artificial Intelligence Forum, and Russian Healthcare Week. A number of these congresses and shows are currently prepared to be included in the official activities of the Decade of Science and Technology.

RUEF President and Director General at ExpoForum-International Sergey Voronkov shared his impressions of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum that was held at the ExpoForum venue. He said that, despite the political agenda, this year’s SPIEF had been filled with economy related issues the most in comparison with all the previous ones. This year, a record six trillion roubles worth of deals were struck at the forum. In his view, this confirms the importance of congresses and trade shows as a unique opportunity for productive negotiations on commercial deals, including in the area of import substitution. 

The RUEF President also noted that the Union aims to give the exhibition industry a legitimate status in the state policy as one of the strategic industries.  “As a consequence, our main task is to maintain and increase the number of events held,” he said. 

Chair at the Expert Council for Investment Projects of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Council for Financial, Industrial and Investment Policy, and Managing Partner at Forpost Solutions Artyom Kudrin drew attention to the question of how to make a trade show attractive to investors. 

Nikita Kuznetsov, Project Director at the Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, Nuclear and Space Technologies Cluster of the Skolkovo Foundation, expressed his opinion on the importance of participation in specialized high-tech show at EXPOCENTRE, such as Metalloobrabotka, Photonics, and others. 

Ivan Kovsh, President at the Laser Association, spoke about plans for the future development of EXPOCENTRE's high-tech show Photonics, noting that over the past 16 years it had tripled in area and doubled in number of exhibitors, despite any crises.

Executive Director at the National Congress Bureau Sagid Zaremukov agreed with the opinion of his colleagues that "congress and exhibition activities and the entire event industry have always, and even more so now, in conditions of turbulence, been one of the most effective tools for developing sectors of the economy and establishing economic, business and investment ties". Business events, he said, in today's environment are designed to provide business communication for the formation and import substitution in the Russian market, and for the establishment of new business ties in foreign markets.   

Vadim Subbotin, WTC Deputy General Director, spoke on behalf of the World Trade Center, which is a traditional partner of EXPOCENTRE in holding 5pEXPO. He shared his company’s experience of holding large-scale congresses and forums.

Chair at the Council of the Digital Economy Development Fund German Klimenko, Head at Expomap Evgeniya Sablina, and Deputy Chair at the Committee on Exhibition, Fair, and Convention Activity of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and First Deputy Director General at EXPOCENTRE AO Sergey Selivanov spoke about the results of the 5pEXPO expert sessions on the topics of IT solutions for the exhibition industry. Challenges and opportunities; Promotion of Russian manufacturers through exhibitions and congresses: new realities; and Finances for business: measures and tools of state support of the industry.

The joint meeting was followed by the signing of a cooperation agreement between EXPOCENTRE AO and Kuzbass Fair OOO. The parties agreed on long-term cooperation in joint organisation of trade shows and congresses both in Moscow and in the regions of Russia.

The agreement provides for joint work in Russian regions and abroad with the involvement of regional exhibition centres, which are RUEF members, to use the experience and capabilities of EXPOCENTRE to promote Russian-made goods, technologies and services in Russian regions and abroad. Information cooperation will also be carried out, including prompt exchange of information on trade shows and congresses held by EXPOCENTRE and Kuzbass Fair.

The agreement was signed by Director General at EXPOCENTRE AO Alexey Vyalkin and Director General at Kuzbass Fair OOO Vladimir Tabachnikov.  

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Press Service, EXPOCENTRE AO