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It is with immense pleasure and great enthusiasm that I stand before you today as a Chairperson of EXSA, as we celebrate Global Exhibition Day brought to you by South African Tourism, EXSA & AAXO.

This special occasion not only honors the remarkable power of exhibitions but also serves as a testament to the strong spirit of human creativity, innovation, and connection.

As we gather here, representing diverse industries, cultures, backgrounds and age groups, we are united by a shared vision — an unwavering belief in the transformative power of exhibitions. Exhibitions have always been a vibrant tapestry of ideas, knowledge, and inspiration, weaving together people and businesses from all corners of the world.

Exhibitions provide the opportunity for businesses to engage with their target audience in a face-to-face setting and promote their brand and offerings. They also offer a platform for businesses to generate new leads, close deals, and drive sales.

Today, we celebrate the tremendous impact of exhibitions on economic growth, cultural exchange, and societal progress. Exhibitions are the breeding ground of ideas, where cutting-edge technologies, groundbreaking discoveries, and visionary concepts converge to shape our future. They serve as the catalysts for collaboration, fostering meaningful partnerships and igniting the sparks of innovation.

In a world that is increasingly interconnected, exhibitions have the remarkable ability to transcend borders and bridge divides. They embody the spirit of inclusivity, providing a platform for diverse voices to be heard, cultures to be celebrated, and stories to be shared. Exhibitions celebrate our shared humanity and remind us of the incredible richness and diversity of our global community.

Today, as we mark this auspicious occasion, let us reflect on the unprecedented challenges we have faced and overcome in the past years. The COVID-19 pandemic has tested our resilience and being able to adapt, forcing us to reimagine the way we connect, collaborate, and create. It is a testament to the unwavering spirit of our industry that we have embraced digital platforms, virtual experiences, and hybrid formats to keep the flame of exhibitions alive.

While we navigate these uncharted waters, we must also acknowledge the immense potential that lies before us. Exhibitions have always been at the forefront of change, and as we emerge from this global crisis, we have an opportunity—an obligation—to rebuild, reenergize, and reinvent the exhibition landscape. Let us harness the power of technology, innovation, and sustainability to shape a future where exhibitions are more accessible, inclusive, and impactful than ever before.

This speaks to the ability of change. Adaptation to change is key, in this way we able to pass on the knowledge, skills and even our lived experience to others following us. It’s no use holding on to has beens and gloating on the past what we did etc… yes the past built us & the industry and we are here right now because of our sins, the love of the industry & our past but what is the use if we retire without passing it on?

Let’s pay it forward.

Global Exhibition Day serves as a reminder of our collective responsibility—to champion the power of exhibitions as drivers of economic growth, cultural exchange, and social progress. It is a call to action for all of us to come together, to share our ideas, forge new connections, and inspire the next generation of exhibitors, visitors, thought leaders and those servicing the industry.

Moreover, exhibitions are an important driver of economic growth, creating jobs and generating revenue for local economies. They attract visitors from around the world, who in turn spend money on accommodation, transportation, entertainment, and other goods and services. In addition, exhibitions often serve as a catalyst for innovation, bringing together industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and startups to exchange ideas and collaborate on new projects.

I look forward to the partnerships between stakeholders – MOU’s, to make sure we continue the trajectory of growth in the industry. As thought leaders and custodians of the industry we need to look ahead and forge ahead in order to make sure the industry grows into inclusive community and those servicing the industry know they have a home in the sector.

Today, as we embark on this celebration, let us honor the resilience of our industry, celebrate the achievements of exhibitions past, and envision a future where exhibitions continue to be the transformative force that brings people together, fuels progress, and shapes our world.