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Come June 13th, the apex body of Indian Exhibition Industry will hold its 9th edition of IEIA Open Seminar 2019. Like every year, there are going to be several speakers from our Industry to grace the stage and illuminate the audience.
I have been to the Open Seminar only once (i.e. at HITEX, Hyderabad in 2018) and I had a very good experience. New to the Industry, I paid utmost attention when the speakers and the guest speakers talked and shared important information related to our industry along with discussions on several issues surrounding it. I noted the important keywords and statements made during the two day seminars, panel discussions and other sessions. It made me curious to get to learn more and know about things I was unaware of.
It’s been a year now and when I think of it, all I can say is … It’s all about US isn’t it? The Panel Discussions, the Sessions, Seminars etc. It is all for US! Hence, I would gladly recommend all my colleagues to participate, be there and not miss this one of its kind event. After all, it’s for the benefit of the Indian Exhibition Industry.
Since last year, several events took place and it paved the way for me to think, write, discuss and share my thoughts on several issues surrounding the apex body (IEIA). No matter what positives and negatives were discussed and written back then, you cannot underestimate the role of this association. The immense efforts made by the Executive Committee and the speakers over the years to banter on the serious issues faced by the industry and find solutions to it, is no cakewalk. Along with that, how cool is it that you get to attend the seminars and other discussions, raise questions, get answers and get insights into things you either know, didn’t know or had half knowledge about.
The positives for a newbie like me has been shredded above but then our industry is still fragmented and not celebrated. Hell, NO! It’s not even supported the way that it should be supported by our Government!
According to Industry estimates, over Rs. 3,00,000 crore of business is transacted through exhibitions/trade fairs in India annually, while the direct spend of the Indian Exhibition Industry is estimated to be over Rs. 25,000 crore with more than 700 shows held annually in the organised sector. With a steady growth rate of almost 8%, the exhibitions sector is growing faster than the GDP of the country, while also being a colossal employment provider in the country directly employing over 1,18,000 people.
With the re-election of our Prime Minister, We have a lot of time to think and take an initiative and bring about a sea of change which shall upgrade and enhance the status as well as the image of the Indian Exhibition Industry globally. Being the apex body (supported by several national and international associations) I believe this is How IEIA should work with the Government!
For a non-recognised sector like Trade Fair Industry, a National Policy on Skill Development can make a difference. We all require skilled individuals. I don’t need to tell you how much difference it makes to have a skilled labour who knows what he needs to do! How many companies – Organisers, Service Providers, Venue Owners can claim they have employees who have appropriate skills to complete tasks entrusted to them? Keeping the Big Players aside, our industry is heavily unorganised.
The mission of the policy (with the aim of rapid and inclusive growth) should be to establish a National Skill Development Initiative with the mission of empowering individuals through improved skills, knowledge, nationally and internationally recognized qualifications to gain access to decent employment and ensure our industry’s competitiveness in the global exhibitions market. Also, it will increase the Employment Opportunities. IEIA partnering with IAEE has certified courses in Exhibition Management known as CEM Certification Programme but can everybody afford it? Can we say most of the professionals from our country carry a CEM? Educating the young will not only benefit the Industry but also Our Country and its economy. Why do you think we need people from UFI to educate us and dominate the Worldwide Exhibitions Industry? The Global Association has its hands in every developing and developed countries. Where would we be if our Government had supported us through and through? I am sure, IEIA we would not feel the need to partner with UFI every year at the Open Seminar nor would we worship it as the Global Association of the Trade Fair Industry!
The coverage of the said Policy above should include Institutions, Formal and Informal Apprenticeships, Training for Self (Entrepreneurial) Development, Adult learning, E-learning, Web – based learning and distance learning.
A survey on our Industry to calculate its size, depth, reach etc. will enable the Government and the Association to take further steps in a divisible way. The government has to know that the Indian Exhibition Industry is worth many crores and cannot be underestimated. Even a little support can show them for good why we deserve to be a part of the Champion Sectors.
For Trade Fair Industry, it is very important to put in front of Government as the largest unrecognised sector of India.
Yet, it has the Biggest Business Pulling Capacity.
As I described myself, I am a newbie. I but know only few things in this matter and from what my brain could process (even if it may sound silly or like a fairy-tale too good to be true), I believe if IEIA takes this initiative head on, we have a glorious chance to bring a great revolution in our country, in our industry. Education is the beginning of Empowerment. (A big shout-out to Mr. Pinakie Kansabanik and ACTERM)
Year in – Year Out we will meet each other, greet each other, sit and talk, discuss on several issues of the industry and keep on finding solutions by being part of several future open seminars. But for how long? How long do we intend to do this remaining in the same state where we require professionals from a first world country to lecture and educate us? Where our potential is either overlooked or ignored? The platform which IEIA has provided is immense and one which has the potential to show the world that the Indian Exhibition Industry is gigantic. I remember when last year, the IEIA delegation led by Mr. KV Nagendra Prasad, Mr. Bhupinder Singh and Ms. Nidhi Sharma pitched for inclusion of Exhibitions under the list of Champion Sectors which was a great step but how much change has that caused? Tell me that you’re satisfied! Tell me, you have lost ambition to take this beyond. The ambition to become World Class! An ambition to no longer depend on other associations to show us the way! An Ambition where the Government will gladly support our sector in the interest of the growth of the economy! Why don’t we create our very own UFI, our own IAEE, why are we not doing it? Have we forgotten what progress means? Or have we simply lost our hunger to do justice to our industry and its status?
I know many would disagree and probably for good reasons would have a different and a better approach with good reasoning. If at all, I will gladly welcome your depth of understanding so that I can gain the knowledge and widen my perception over the issue. I urge the Big Players to take this further. After all, it’s you who will pave the way and guide the rest. I am but a micro part of this industry voicing his opinion.

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