Exhibition World Russia Supplement - Page 3

Interview

RUEF : A unifying force

Sergey Voronkov , President of the Russian Union of Exhibition and Fairs ( RUEF ), and CEO of ExpoForum International , tells EW about the historic work of the Union and the important role it has played during the Covid pandemic
The RUEF was founded on 11 December 1991 by leading companies , including ExpoCentre , VDNH , Lenexpo and Nizhegorodskaya Yarmarka , among others . The initiative was driven by Sergey Alexeyev – a huge figure in the industry and who went on to became Russia ’ s first UFI President in 2015 .
The RUEF founders ’ aim was to create , out of a disparate group of companies in the post-Soviet space , a reliable , self-sufficient branch of the new Russian economy .
The Union has gone on to play an important role in developing the exhibition market in Russia and raising standards within the industry . The RUEF has also assisted company members work on the international arena and joined the global association of the exhibition industry , UFI , in 1994 .
Today the RUEF unites over 100 companies , from venues to service companies and organisers . Our first priority has always been providing planning resources – from platforms for education and consulting , to IT and setting standards , as well as conducting market research for the benefit of all members .
A key moment in the Union ’ s development – and for the entire sector in Russia – was the drafting of a major strategic document in 2014 which set out the direction of the industry and its importance as a key instrument for promoting international trade as well as attracting investment into the country .
Today the Union is working on a strategic development plan until 2030 and with government on a project of legislative support for the sector .
Further developing congress and exhibition activities as an effective means of marketing and promoting companies and their innovations also remains a key task .
According to RUEF research , the congress-exhibition business accounts for 3 % of GDP in Russia and worth an estimated 203 bililion rouble to the national economy .
The sector , of course , was practically paralysed in 2020 during lockdown , but RUEF quickly took on an active role in defence of the interests of the industry and rallied sectoral organisations such as the National Convention Bureau , the Chamber of Commerce and the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs , among others . We knew we had to coordinate our activities and produced a Memorandum of the event industry signed by more than 500 organisations . Thanks to this and a collective address to the Government , we received state support and official recognition as an economic sector and were included for the first time in the official register of the country ’ s
Above : Sergey Voronkov
strategic enterprises . This was achieved thanks to several key meetings on with key ministries and with the participation of vice-premier Andrei Belousov . We have also been able to build up new statistical databases and have used our technology and expertise with hybrid formats to provide national digital platforms and services for the sector and for many enterprises .
We worked , together with the ministry of trade and industry to introduce a system of Expo ID for facilitating foreign exhibitors and trade fair visitors to come to Russia . The RUEF has also developed its website , with new materials to help members , such as legal advice .
RUEF membership has grown from 80 to 116 companies as people have understood it is better to be together in such difficult times . The sector has not just survived but has good prospects for growth .
Read a full version of this interview at : www . exhibitionworld . co . uk
EXHIBITION WORLD / RUSSIA SUPPLEMENT / 3