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Trade fair quality accreditation system expanded



The world's most sought after seal of quality for exhibitions, the "UFI Approved Event" certification, is growing its reach. UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry announced that it will expand its events accreditation scheme.

 - Worldwide, UFI’s quality label is granted to more than 900 exhibitions.
© Boris Wettig /
Worldwide, UFI’s quality label is granted to more than 900 exhibitions.

From 2017, quality exhibitions and events that focus on national audiences will also be able to apply for, and receive, UFI’s unique recognition, opening up the industry’s gold standard to audited national quality shows. Until today, UFI approval was reserved for exhibitions that meet the highest global standards, provide officially audited statistics, and serve an international market. Under the new system, organisers can apply for either UFI Approved Event status or UFI Approved International Event status, depending on their proportion of international visitors and exhibitors.

UFI’s founding members were keen to set a bar for good quality events that were worth the time and expense for both exhibitor and visitor to be present at. The mutual recognition of quality events has been at the heart of UFI activity ever since its foundation in 1925. The key to quality is the willingness of organisers to have their exhibitions and events audited. Every organiser who is a UFI member is running at least one UFI Approved Event. With, and through its unique network of close to 60 national and international association members, UFI is collaborating with many national recognition and auditing schemes. This sets the UFI seal apart from many other "certifications".

Granted to more than 900 exhibitions worldwide

Presently, UFI’s quality label is granted to more than 900 exhibitions worldwide. "Organisers around the globe tell us about the huge impact of using the 'UFI Approved Event' logo.
People not only recognise but trust it, so are more likely to travel to the exhibition and take part either as an exhibitor or as a visitor. I’m really pleased we can now open up this opportunity to more markets, but maintain the high standard," said Dr Andreas Gruchow, UFI President.

Global demand

"We were getting more and more requests for UFI Approval from some great exhibitions and events whose audiences aren’t necessarily international. At the same time, exhibitors were asking us for data and reassurance about those very same local and national events," says Kai Hattendorf, Managing Director of UFI. "Our solution is to relaunch the UFI Approved Event scheme with two labels, one for international events, and one for national events, both of equally high quality," says Hattendorf.
"As the global association for the exhibition industry, UFI is constantly evolving the ways and means we can support the industry by highlighting quality and excellence in the industry – it’s part of our founding vision", concludes Hattendorf.

260 million visitors

UFI research shows that 260 million visitors and 4.4 million exhibitors attend events globally each year. In response, the UFI Approved Event and UFI Approved International Event schemes aim to help these visitors and exhibitors to choose the best possible exhibition experience, wherever they are in the world. In certain countries, it suffices to just have the UFI Approved Event label to obtain licences to produce shows. In other countries, subsidies are accorded to exhibitions that are UFI Approved, as a clear means of promoting quality in the national exhibition market.

Strict assessment for quality control

For both labels, the strict accreditation criteria remain unchanged. All UFI approved exhibitions must have run for at least two editions or more. Materials must be provided in English, and the venue must meet high standards and have effective Health and Safety procedures in place. After each event, organisers must provide independently audited data on key details such as total exhibition space, and the number of exhibitors and visitors. To display the UFI Approved International Event logo, exhibitions must show either that at least 10per cent of exhibitors are foreign, or that at least 5per cent of visitors (or visits) are from abroad. After successful initial application, exhibitions must undergo regular assessments by UFI’s global network of accredited auditors to maintain their "UFI Approved Event" status.