Traditionally, in the last quarter of the year (29.10.-1.11.) there was the annual, already 81st Congress of UFI – the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry. This time it was held in the capital of Colombia, Bogota. It has been the first UFI Congress in Latin America since 1975. Over 300 participants of the Congress had an opportunity to exchange knowledge and experience from 46 countries and exhibition markets. Among the delegates to the Congress there were representatives of Polish Chamber of Exhibition Industry and the leading Polish exhibition companies. During the 81st Congress there was the traditional session of the UFI Associations Committee and Regional Chapters. The sessions of Regional Chapters held twice a year allow for discussing the condition and diagnosing the most pressing problems of the exhibition industries of the major geographical regions where exhibitions are organized around the world: Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa-the Middle East and the Americas. The session of the UFI Associations Committee is the most significant discussion forum of the representatives of trade fair organizations which representatives of individual national markets, international lobbying and auditing organizations, associations of exhibition venues and organizers from sub-regions, research institutions and others. During the session, the most important aspects which concern them are discussed. More effective together in protecting exhibitors’ industrial property rights Polish Chamber of Exhibition Industry, which took part in the session and bilateral meetings, in the weeks preceding the UFI Congress established contact with trade fair organizations AUMA, AEFI and UNIMEV from the largest European exhibition markets (Germany, Italy and France). The objective was to obtain knowledge about the significant issue for the Polish exhibition market, i.e. the protection of industrial property rights at exhibitions. Thanks to the previous exchange of information and the participation in the Congress in Bogota, it was possible to continue the talks, in particular in the context of the amendment of the Polish Act on Industrial Property Rights a few years ago, as the effect of which, since November 2007, exhibition organizers are no longer entitled to grant the so-called priority certificate from exhibitions to exhibitors. – Before November 2007, pursuant to the provisions of the Act on the Industrial Property Rights (art.125 of the Act), the organizers were able to apply to the President of the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland for the right to issue, at some of the exhibitions they organize, the aforementioned priority certificate which guarantees legal protection to the exhibitor who presented innovations at such exhibitions, which had not been previously notified in the patent office for a variety of reasons. In this way, thanks to the mechanism which was the priority certificate from exhibitions, organizers of exhibitions in Poland were able to efficiently support the development of innovativeness in Poland. And the promotion and support of innovativeness is one of the main objectives of the economic policy of European Union member states. – says Marzenna Łukaszewicz, PCEI Executive Director. – Being aware of the important function of the priority certificate for the economy, the President of the Board of PCEI, Andrzej Byrt, on behalf of the Polish exhibition market, has recently met with Ms. Alicja Adamczak, the President of the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland, in order to present the arguments of the Chamber supported by the analysis of the situation in other countries of the European Union. – adds Marzenna Łukaszewicz. – PCEI is aware of numerous examples of issuing priority certificates to exhibitors who presented innovations at exhibitions organized by German organizers. Therefore, the knowledge on the practices and procedures of applying this certificate at exhibitions in Germany we have obtained from the employees of AUMA – the Association of the German Exhibition Industry – is especially valuable for us. – stresses Marzenna Łukaszewicz. – Additionally, while participating in the UFI congress it was also possible for me to discuss the aforementioned issue with Barbara Weizsäcker, the Secretary General of the European Exhibition Industry Alliance (EEIA) – adds M. Łukaszewicz. – Now we will continue our actions with the support of EEIA. We share the UFI strategy During the Congress, the Board of UFI also decided about the execution of the strategy for the following years based on several guidelines. Marketing of the locations of future and existing exhibitions, digitalization of the exhibition world, investments in exhibitions infrastructure, as well as the monitoring of the political environment of the sector are important elements of UFI strategy. – From the point of view of PCEI, the significant importance belongs to the first factor, namely the marketing of particular destinations. What we understand by this is the joint promotion of Polish exhibition cities by politicians and activating their role as hosts of trade fairs and exhibitions. It is important to increase the awareness in ministries and local governments of the importance city-genic role of exhibitions. Fulfilling this role is important for the economic success of the cities and to improve their image, as well as the image of the whole country abroad, which has a positive impact on the perception of Poland as a solid economic partner. – summarizes Żaneta Berus, the CEO of EXPO XXI Warszawa. Face to face with the leaders The participants of the UFI Congress had an opportunity to have face-to-face meetings with the leaders of the exhibitions industry from Latin America. In the context of this developing region, the speakers and delegates to the Congress analyzed the markets, the operations of small local enterprises and large multinationals, the operations of venues and exhibitions organizers, thus exchanging their experiences. – Such meetings of professionals from around the world give inspiration and a sizeable portion of the sector knowledge. From my perspective the most interesting is how similar problems are solved in different exhibition centers and what the current trends in the sector are. This has always been the idea of networking which is a major part of the program of all UFI Congresses – the possibility to meet people from the sector, discussing various aspects of our work and exchanging experiences with them – Ewa Woch, Vice-President of Targi w Krakowie summarizes the Congress. The participation in the Congress also allows for the appraisal of the Polish exhibition industry against the global players. – Listening to the presentations and talking to the participants of the 81st UFI Congress in Bogota, I can say that Polish exhibition organizers are able to take on the best companies in the world. We have good ideas, organize interesting events, and we are able to define the needs of our clients, exhibitors and visitors. –Paweł Nikliński, Vice-President of Targi w Krakowie, assesses the sector.