Home' micenet eMag : micenet October November 2015 Contents EEAA UPDATE | JOYCE DIMASCIO
ver the past six months, the
Exhibition and Event
Association of Australasia
(EEAA) has held a number of
deep-dive forums with members to try to
better understand the business environment
and how to help our members thrive.
The sessions were very challenging as we
dissected the major factors influencing
members’ businesses and what could be
done to leverage, adapt and most
importantly – prosper.
Trade and consumer exhibitions are vibrant
forums that drive a lot of business in Australia
and around the world.
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit
Expo 2015 in Milano, Italy. The last time I
attended this event was when it was hosted
in Brisbane in 1988. It was one of the largest
events of the bicentennial year and it
attracted around 15 million people to the 40
hectare riverfront site. It attracted exhibitors
from around 35 countries and the anchor
theme was “Leisure in the Age of
Technology”. It propelled Queensland onto
the international tourism stage and put out
the welcome mat to companies wanting to
do business with Australia.
Its other major legacy was to launch the
transformation of the expo site to what it is
now, the vibrant cultural and events precinct
of the new world city of Brisbane.
Twenty seven years later, this universal
Recently returned from Expo 2015 in Milan, EEAA CEO Joyce DiMascio
was disappointed there was no Australian Government representation.
expo was held in Milano and its theme was “Feeding the planet, energy for life”. It runs for six
months until the end of October with around 148 countries exhibiting. Disappointingly, the
Australian Government did not exhibit despite the core theme being related to one of the key
export sectors of the Australian economy - food and agribusiness.
I had hoped to visit a pavilion which showcased Australia’s capability to produce excellent dairy,
grains, seafood, wines and meat. Indeed, organic and sustainably produced food of all kinds.
But instead, I saw what the rest of the world had to say about their countries through
interactive exhibits, performances, conferences, demonstrations, entertainment, sculptures and
narratives. The pavilions were extraordinary. Inside each pavilion, visitors were able to explore
uniquely interpreted experiences that reflected the core expo theme of feeding the planet. The
“experiential” and “interactivity” features touched all the senses.
Outside the national pavilions, the public domain was filled with restaurants, bars, chill-out
areas and performance spaces that kept the crowds entertained, cool, watered and fed. On 40
degree days, that was very important.
ExpoMilano 2015 is the Olympic Games of international exhibitions and fairs – and there is a
lot to gain from visiting it. Apart from learning about the food-related theme, those that work in
delivering live events would gain a lot from spending a day, two or even three looking at what
was created at this global exhibition.
Complacency is not an option in our world of business events – it’s incumbent on all of us
who work in it to constantly refresh the experience and to keep delivering benefits to our
visitors, exhibitors, delegates, sponsors, community, partners and of course, governments.
We need to keep exploring new ways to tell a compelling story about the benefits of investing
in business events – and in the case of the EEAA members – the benefits of trade and
This was one of the key themes that emerged from our association’s two workshops this year
in which we explored the business environment and its challenges.
We all agreed that we need to develop a new narrative with contemporary language to
continue to make investing in exhibitions and events a compelling proposition.
We have the data and case studies that validate our capacity. Indeed, we have it in bucket
What we may need is a good dose of fresh thinking, imagination, creativity and drive to
strengthen the way we communicate value to our stakeholders.
And to all those stakeholders out there – we hope you’ll be listening. m
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