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  • Key stakeholders in the Moroccan Exhibition & Event Industry have agreed to found a new national association with clear criteria for raising standards in the country.
  • IELA officially presented its Sustainability Guidelines as a valuable step in the right direction.

On October 14th 2019, IELA hosted its regional networking and exchange event, IELA CONNECT 2019, in Marrakech, Morocco.

Established as a platform to address crucial issues concerning global industry standards, the event was launched by IELA 2018-20 Chairman Vicki Bedi with the release of the newly published IELA Sustainability Guidelines. Vicki then went on to present the association’s similar achievements in this area in the form of the IELA OH&S and Security Guidelines. An in-depth Round Table Discussion on Protecting Our People Special MENA & Western Africa Region then followed.

Before widening the discussion, two IELA Members and exhibition logistics experts, Nicolas Rougerie from Timar S.A. in Morocco and Rachid Bensaber from Group ESI in France, introduced the challenges that exist and presented a case study of Morocco. The discussion was then open to feedback from delegates who were invited to share their best practices and experience.

Consensus on growth potential but only with the application of standards: Very evident was the opinion that considerable growth potential exists in the Moroccan exhibition industry but there is however a need to apply international standards regarding safety, security. The local stakeholders highlighted that they are doing their best with regards to safety and security but official certification or defined standards is necessary to anchor best practices in the full value chain with recognition for optimal best practice achievements. The participants agreed to establish a MOU to found a dedicated label/ association representing and uniting all stakeholders in Morocco which would follow a clear criteria. The partners signing the MOU will invite all other national players to join the upcoming founding discussions. Advocacy and collaboration to raise the standards in terms of safety, security and sustainability will be the main focus of the new association.

The next steps: The participants were unanimous on the need to start work on creating guidelines for regional application and to look for coaching from other associations, with the objective of creating a local advocate community. In the case of developing recognised professional certification, it would be necessary to identify the accreditation procedure and contact the relevant government body or authority.

Training programmes were also highly interesting for those present. IELA will be happy to provide support and knowledge to the group in order for them to advance towards their goals.

Very positive outcome: IELA Connect 2019 was the very first Exhibition Industry Event in Morocco. Having analysed the feedback and witnessed the energy shown by those present, we at IELA can proudly confirm that IELA CONNECT 2019 offered the unique opportunity to build further the foundations for collaboration and growth in our industry. It has once again been confirmed that regional events are highly valuable in terms of benefits for the global industry, its people and its future. We are very much looking forward to the creation of a dedicated label, the creation of certification standards and the introduction of specialist training programmes.

Ikram Ettis, CEO of Global Fairs & Events, Organiser and UFI Member in Morocco, commented after the event: “I would like to thank IELA for all their efforts for a successful event, gathering all the exhibition industry stake- holders in order to discuss and share best practices on how to build a good risk management strategy. Keep going!”

IAEE MENA Chapter Chairman, Mr. Bilal Al Barmawi commented: “Security and safety are very important for our industry, especially in the MENA region. We need more training and educational programmes, together with more experience to support our organisers and our workforce. Now is a good time to approach our colleagues in the MENA region to promote working alongside organisers in order to achieve this high level of service. IELA Connect has been a good opportunity to network regionally.”

The next edition of IELA CONNECT will take place in October 2020 in the Middle-East.
We are already looking forward to collaborating with regional associations and institutions to provide a great networking experience and expert discussions.