– Ravinder Sethi, Founder, R. E. Rogers India Pvt. Ltd.

Ravinder Sethi, Founder, R. E. Rogers India Pvt. Ltd. in this interview provides perspectives on the trade fair industry along with the scope for them in the Asian region and India in particular.

TFT : What is the current global scenario where the trade fair industry is concerned? What are the key countries that can be termed as industry leaders?
Ravinder Sethi : Considering what has happened in the past few years, the present economic scenario is defi nitely on the up. The answer to this is simple – India and China.

TFT : How would you rate trade fair quality levels in different countries? What are the key parameters?
Ravinder Sethi : Trade fair quality levels are defi nitely on a high as far as Western Europe is concerned, followed probably by the USA and some Far East destinations. The key parameters are good audits on quality and quantity.

TFT : What are the challenges faced by the trade fair industry in general and India in particular? Which are the recurring issues that need to be urgently tackled?
Ravinder Sethi : At a macro level essential elements for success in any Industry are A) Good Infrastructure B) Clarity in Status Quo C) Correct and Timely manoeuvring of Legal and Regulatory issues. These aspects if tackled with concern and care by the Industry could make world of a difference.

The man with the vision
Born in 1954 in Cairo, Ravinder Sethi got into exhibition freight logistics arena in 1977 and in 1986 established, along with his wife, R.E.Rogers India Pvt. Ltd. (RERI) – a company which today is market leaders in their field. RER services almost every organizer operating in India. Ravinder plays a very active role, both in India and overseas, in the overall exhibition industry – not just reaching him to logistics. In so doing, he has and is holding several important posts in this industry – i.e. Past Chairman of the International Exhibition Logistics Associates (IELA), presently Vice President of the India Exhibition Industry Association (IEIA), member of AFECA / IAEE, and most important Vice President on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of UFI. He became the fi rst Asian to get elected as chairman of the board of IEIA (International Exhibition Logistics Associates).

TFT : How do you see the scope for trade fairs in the Asian region and India in particular?
Ravinder Sethi : The scope is tremendous in India and China. With an 8 to 9 percent growth rate in both these countries, there is no way that the trade fair business would not be on the high. India has the added advantage because of its strong democracy, free enterprise, good communications, and a very young economy. The other one country which i would single out in Asia for the future would be Vietnam.

TFT : What are your views on India as a trade fair location? What are the hurdles and opportunities that it offers?
Ravinder Sethi : India is a fertile soil today where most of the Industries are concerned. Exhibitions provide a platform to interact and act for the already established companies, those that are still to catch up the race and also those who need to introduce themselves . India being a developing economy, opportunities are in plenty. Where the stumbling blocks are concerned up-gradation in infrastructure would create excellent base and an inviting scene for the companies showcasing themselves are concerned. Mumbai being the Economic capital of our Nation if paucity of space and an all around Global tech is implemented, the volume of trade can be not only accommodated but would fl ourish. Working Hand in hand with Government and some Foreign Fairground Authorities would open up Avenues those that would be attractive for the organisers to exhibit world class shows. This would elevate India’s grade on the world industrial scenario.

TFT : What would help bring India on par with the best trade fair destinations worldwide?
Ravinder Sethi : Right mind set and fair system will, I feel see a sea change, and, of course, something which everyone is wanting – more venues of international standards.

TFT : Taking a global perspective, what is the potential for trade fairs post-recession? What do you feel would be the way forward?
Ravinder Sethi : Any Industry would want to pick up new threads postrecession and where trade fairs are concerned , they provide an umbrella under which various industries meet and progress in terms of business. A trade fair will be a catalyst for economic growth.

TFT : What are the personal Achievement of yours from Exhibition Industry?
Ravinder Sethi : This is an interesting question. After college, I wanted to do my Phd in Economics and pursue an academic career. But, destiny had other things in store and I got into the exhibition logistics arena. Here, after 35 years (with 25 as RER), I achieved three things. First, fl ew the Indian fl ag high at many international forums, like Ufi , Iaee, Afeca, etc. Presented papers, attended seminars / conferences, gave training programmes, etc. was all a part of this. Second, ensured that R.E. Rogers, with the combined efforts of all my colleagues, remained market leaders since inception. And , third , achieved personal heights by becoming Chairman of IELA (int’l logistics association); founder-member and EC member of the IEIA; and most prestigious, being EC member of Ufi (the global association of the exhibition industry). So, from wanting to be a professor and ending up achieving the above turned out ok!

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