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March 8, 2009

Confex visitor numbers up for third year in succession

Despite the downturn, it appear to be business as usual at the 26th International Confex when it returned to Earls Court this year – and with visitor numbers up 5%, the show presented some positive news for the events industry.

Aisles were busy, exhibitors pulled out all the stops and there was a lively optimistic feel throughout the three day show, reflective of the fact that the events market was up to the challenge of weathering the current economic climate.

There were 11,143 visitors to the show up (subject to ABC audit) from 10,649 last year, while total attendance for Confex was 15,030 (subject to ABC audit), up from 14,807 on 2008.

“In the months leading up to Confex, there has been a climate of fear paralysing the industry, but a significant amount of business has been conducted at the show and I can see a real confidence returning to the market,” said event director Duncan Reid.

“Over the last three years Confex has enjoyed double-digit year-on-year growth, and in the current economic climate, where staying the same is moving forward, a 5% increase is a fantastic achievement. However, we have also recognised that the phenomenal growth of the show we have seen previously is something that would be difficult to achieve, even under better economic circumstances.

“There was a real feeling of exhibitors looking to maximise the potential of the show and that they were serious about doing business having, brought only their best sales professionals to Confex,” Reid continued.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our exhibitors for their hard work and enthusiasm. Their success and the response to Confex 09 underlines the importance of being at a show and how successful exhibiting as a medium can be.”

Confex Knowledge, the show’s education programme, also proved a success, with keynote speaker sessions, including a lively talk and workshop by Ruby Wax and an insight into the economy from principal economic commentator for the Independent Hamish McRae.

The advice centre and CV clinic were also fully booked for the entire three days and received an impressive 60 bookings, which is more than double the number of appointments received for 2008.

Comments from exhibitors seemed to reflect Reid’s comments, with Fergus McGoldrick of Melville Data Services saying: "As the new MD at Melville Data Services, I hadn't experienced just how powerful an event International Confex is. Working the stand with my staff, we secured a great number of really solid leads not only from conference organisers, but also from exhibition and corporate event managers too."

Meanwhile, Peter Nash, managing director of the Oscar Group, commented: “This year’s Confex exhibition was a great success for us. Over the three days’ we obtained a fantastic number of quality leads, which is a great start point for a new portfolio addition.”

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