Geoff Dickinson, CEO of dmg events, takes presidency of UFI, the global events industry association – the first time a UAE-based executive has been appointed

Dubai, UAE: In a first for Dubai and the UAE – UFI the Global Events Industry Association has elected Geoff Dickinson, CEO of dmg events, as their president for 2024, recognising Dubai and Abu Dhabi as world leading event destinations.

Under the leadership of Dickinson since 2010, Dubai-headquartered dmg events is one of the top twenty, international exhibition and conference organisers, with ten offices around the world and organises nearly 100 events annually.

Commenting on his appointment, Dickinson said: “I am truly honoured to serve an industry that I am so passionate about. This is the first time any event professional from the UAE has been appointed to this prestigious role and I am sure that the UAE’s status as a leading international events hub, especially having hosted the ‘world’s greatest show’ Expo 2020, was at the very least, a contributing factor.”

UFI is the global association of the world’s leading tradeshow organisers and its main goal is to represent, promote and support the business interests of its members and the exhibition industry in general.

The UFI president is elected by the UFI’s board of directors for a one-year mandate, becoming its legal and official representative, chairing the executive committee, the board of directors and the general assemblies.

UFI directly represents around 50,000 exhibition industry professionals globally, and also works closely with its 63 national and regional association members and includes 795 member organisations in 83 countries and regions around the world.

“I will always champion the events industry, focusing on diversity, innovation, technology and sustainability,” added Dickinson.

The events industry is vital to the UAE economy. According to an impact report released by the Dubai World Trade Centre, business tourism generated $3.5 billion in 2018, the equivalent of 3.3% of Dubai’s gross domestic product (GDP), and in 2019, over 50% of the 16.7 million international overnight visitors who stayed in Dubai, were business travellers attending events. Taking a global perspective, in 2019 the event industry contributed almost $ 200 billion to the global economy, supporting 1.3 million jobs. 

Being an in-person business, the industry has benefited from the swift and decisive action taken by the UAE government to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. Indeed, the UAE was praised internationally for the way in which it reacted, implementing one of the most effective responses globally, which was evident with one of the lowest mortality and infection rates globally. 

The teams at DWTC and ADNEC worked tirelessly to ensure that all events ran safely and implemented a range of measures including enhanced cleaning regimes, improved air circulation, multiple hand sanitiser stations, as well as temperature checks, paving the way for international events to return to the UAE once again.

“This approach laid the foundations for the UAE economy to rebound safely and quickly. Large-scale events were up and running again at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), before the end of 2020,” said Dickinson. 

“Trade events are by far the most powerful sales and marketing tools for businesses to connect with existing and potential customers. In numerous surveys, 85% of the businesspeople that responded, showed an overwhelming preference for live face-to-face events compared with virtual events.

In 2021, Dickinson was appointed to the Advisory Board of Dubai International Chamber, by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. 

A Dubai resident for nearly 30 years, Dickinson was handed a Golden Visa in 2021.

About Geoff Dickinson, CEO dmg events

Geoff Dickinson graduated from the University of Birmingham, UK with an LLB Law honours degree. He started his career in publishing with emap in London. He worked on the launch of emap’s exhibition business creating a series of highly successful tech events.  He moved on to be part of the leadership team that launched Haymarket Exhibitions and BBC Haymarket Exhibitions creating a series of large-scale consumer exhibitions.  

Geoff worked for a variety of events businesses holding numerous senior roles including being the Global Managing Director of IIR Exhibitions in the mid 90’s. He then spent over a decade as an entrepreneur in Dubai launching two successful exhibitions businesses. He sold his first business to Messe Frankfurt and the second to Clarion. In 2010 he returned to the corporate world by joining dmg events for which he currently acts as the global CEO. dmg events is an international events business with offices in ten global cities specializing in energy, construction, interiors, coatings, hotel & hospitality, food, security, manufacturing, and freight. 

He also serves as Vice President on the board of UFI the international industry events association and is a member of their executive team. He will take on the Presidency of UFI in 2024. He was recently also appointed to serve on His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashed Al Maktoum’s Dubai International Chamber Advisory Council.

About dmg events

dmg events is a leading organiser of face-to-face events and a publisher of trade magazines.

We aim to keep businesses informed and connect them with relevant communities to create vibrant marketplaces and to accelerate their business through face-to-face events.

dmg events organises more than 80 events across 25 countries, attracting over 425,000 attendees and delegates every year. The company’s portfolio of products includes many industry-leading events in the energy, construction, hospitality & design, coatings and transportation sectors. ADIPEC, The Big 5, Gastech, EGYPS, The Hotel Show and INDEX are the company’s flagship events. For more information visit www.dmgevents.com

Founded in 1989, the company is headquartered in Dubai, UAE, and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Daily Mail and General Trust plc (DMGT, www.dmgt.co.uk), one of the largest media companies in the United Kingdom. 

About DMGT

DMGT manages a portfolio of companies that provide businesses and consumers with compelling information, analysis, insight, events, news and entertainment.  The Group takes a long-term approach to investment and has market-leading positions in consumer media, insurance risk, property information, education technology, energy information and events & exhibitions.  In total, DMGT generates revenues of around £1bn.

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