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On January 28, 2021, an extended discussion of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Committee on Exhibition, Fair and Convention Activities was held in the format of a videoconference in preparation for the next VIII Congress of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the margins of the X Event Forum of Eurasia (EFEA).
The topic of the discussion was "Hybrid Formats of Exhibition and Convention Events: Present and Future".
More than 130 individual and collective connections were registered from the exhibition community, chambers of commerce and industry, industry unions and associations, science and business from different regions of Russia. There were participants from 25 regional chambers of commerce and industry and six municipal chambers of commerce and industry.
Sergey Bednov, Chairman of the Committee, Director General of EXPOCENTRE AO, moderated the event.
Opening the meeting, he stressed that a modern exhibition is not only an effective sales tool, but also the most important mechanism for networking and information exchange. Modern trade fair participation is therefore seen primarily in combination with other marketing tools, based on the use of online and offline techniques.
The coronavirus pandemic has been one of the reasons for the increased digital transformation of exhibitions and has only accelerated the emergence of new formats for organising and hosting events. But it is highly premature to talk about the complete replacement of offline events by virtual ones. Each of the exhibition formats has its own fundamental strengths and weaknesses. Today, exhibition organisers need to monitor the spread of new digital technologies in order to see changes in the markets served by certain exhibitions in advance, said the Committee chairman.
Sergey Bednov proposed to record the role and importance of hybrid exhibitions as a new format for organising and holding exhibition events in the draft Federal Law on Exhibition, Fair and Convention Activities, to supplement professional development programmes for exhibition professionals and exhibitors with topics devoted to using hybrid formats for events, and drew attention to the need to develop a domestic videoconference platform.
Sergey Selivanov, Deputy Chairman of the Committee and Director of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Committee on Exhibition, Fair and Convention Activities, noted in his speech that during the pandemic the exhibition market in Russia was quickly reoriented towards organising events with the increased use of digital products. The hybrid format of events is becoming an effective tool for overcoming the crisis, and the experience gained and new technologies used now by exhibition organisers will be able to improve the quality of services provided in the future.
About 57 regional chambers of commerce and industry and 43 municipal chambers organise exhibitions and other events aimed at business development in the regions. Many of them, as well as other representatives of the congress and exhibition industry, have started to hold events in online and hybrid format using studios, he said.
Sergey Selivanov specially focused on the algorithm for digital business missions developed for the system of chambers of commerce and industry.
Sergey Voronkov, President of the Russian Union of Exhibitions and Fairs (RUEF), was unanimous with his colleagues in the opinion that online formats cannot replace live communication at traditional offline exhibitions, but can only supplement and expand their capabilities. In support of this, he cited the data that only 2% of exhibitions in Russia have their own digital copy or online format.
Daria Ostrovskaya, Member of the Committee and General Director of R&C Market Research Company, spoke about the impact of the pandemic on the event market and forecasts of its development.
Olga Fedulova, President of the Union "Omsk Chamber of Commerce and Industry", Rafael Shageyev, President of the Union "Central Siberian Chamber of Commerce and Industry", and Irina Denisova, Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Komi, shared their practical experience in holding hybrid congress and exhibition events.
Denis Papyshev, IT Director of ExpoForum International OOO, presented a brief overview of domestic videoconferencing systems.
The discussion was also attended by Valery Skrug, Member of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Andrey Razbrodin, President of the Russian Union of Textile Industry Enterprises, Vladimir Tabachnikov and Andrey Shapovalov, heads of Kuzbass Fair AO and Sibexpocentre OAO, Timur Zeldich, Commercial Director of VDNH AO, Igor Filonenko, RUEF expert, Darya Salamatova, Director of Congress Activities and New Business Development Department of World Trade Center, and Pavel Dolgov, Vice-President of the Association of Exporters and Importers.
All suggestions and recommendations made by the participants in the discussion will be analysed and reflected in the decision of the meeting, and some of them will be discussed at the next VIII Congress of the CCI of the RF for inclusion in the programme documents.
For reference: The 2021 anniversary X Event Forum of Eurasia (EFEA) takes place from January 27 to 29. Its theme is "Cooperation as a Strategy in Uncertain Circumstances" and the Forum will cover four areas of the event industry: exhibition business, regional marketing, meeting industry and venue management.
Press Service, EXPOCENTRE AO