Guest Editor – Naveen Seth Director, Exhibitions, PHD Chamber

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What is the role of PHDCCI? What has PHDCCI been able to achieve since its inception? What shows do you organize in India and abroad?
PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a leading national Industry Chamber of India, ever since its inception in 1905, has been an active participant in the India Growth Story through its Advocacy Role for the Policy Makers and Regulators of the Country. As a true representative of the Industry with a large membership base of 1,30,000 direct and indirect members, PHD Chamber has forged ahead leveraging its legacy with the Industry knowledge across sectors. At a Global level the Chamber has been working with the Embassies and High Commissions in India to bring in the International Best Practices and Business Opportunities. Industrial Development, Health, Education & Skill development, Housing, Infrastructure, Agriculture & Agri-business and Digital India are the seven key thrust areas of the Chamber. PHD Chamber has been organizing shows within India and Overseas, to name a few ; AGRI HORTI TECH, PITEX, HITEX, PHARMAMED, FARM TO FORM, AROGAYA, RAC INDIA EXCON, AERO INDIA, DEFENCE & HOMELAND SECURITY EXPO, 3D EXPO & SUMMIT, and besides, this INDIA PAVILION’s in overseas shows in multi sectors.

Can you tell us about your journey in the industry? How has it evolved over the years?
The real essences of the industry have been the same all through but yes the medium and communication has changed for good. With the advent of technology the reach to the Target Group (TG) is becoming easier day on day. The resources and its skill set too have seen a sea of change. In earlier days organizing an exhibition was more like hosting a marriage and it was a cohesive effort of the entire team to make it successful, hospitable and an experience for its stakeholders. In the run up to the show it was great fun to work day and night with the team (read professional family). But now things are more systematic, fast and organized. Exhibition still works of the touch and feel fundamentals braving the virtual marketplace. With over 25 years of hardcore experience in exhibitions, event management and successful sales, with proven face-to-face sales and organisational skill, experienced in managing projects from conception to completion, worked with organisations namely; TAFCON Projects, Koelnmesse India, Dainik Bhaskar Group, Reed Exhibitions and now with PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

A lot of infrastructure developments are taking place in India. How do you think will the Indian Exhibition Industry benefit from them? What according to you are the developments needed in the Indian Exhibition Industry?
India is developing world class convention centers across India. For Example, India International Convention and Exhibition Centre (IICC), New Delhi. The nearly 90-hectare IICC has been planned as a venue that will not just allow India to hold multilateral state events in style but also become an option for global convention and exhibition events in the private sector. This will have a massive exhibition space of 200,000 sq m and a 60,000 sq m meetings and conventions space. Also, the multi-purpose arena in the IICC will have a seating capacity of around 20,000 people and a parking facility for nearly 30,000 vehicles is being planned. One can very well image the scalability of the events which can be planned on these venues which will not only help in generating high level of employment but at the same time will be a huge source for foreign earning. With the high capacity venues in place, India needs to start planning on high profile global events which will ensure the optimum utilization of these venues round the year. Also, we should start promoting India in the international market as the MICE destination by 2020.

What support does the Indian Exhibition Industry receive from the Government of India?
Government of India has taken several steps to encourage SMEs and MSMEs to hold a prominent position in the developing India market. It has recognized the importance of exhibitions and how it helps in shaping the economy of a developing nation. The Indian government has introduced several schemes to support the SMEs participation in trade shows. The National Small Industries Corporation under the Ministry of MSME provides a scheme for organizing and participating in the exhibition and supports co-sponsoring of the exhibition. Department of Commerce Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Govt of India through its scheme MAI – Market Access Initiative supports the promotion of trade and exports.

What makes the Indian Exhibition industry stand out in the global market? What can the global exhibitions industry learn from the Indian industry?
Indian Exhibition industry has the advantage of largest consumer base in India. India has the world’s largest youth population as per the UN report. This is a sign of great potential in terms of any industry weather it is pharma, automotive, paper, plastic, packaging, IT etc. Due to the largest youth population, India becomes a more dynamic and adaptive nation which ensures high level of enthusiasm and focus on the developmental side. From time immemorial it has been seen that Indians feel more closely when there is a “personal touch” to any kind of invitation or involvement. Indian exhibition industry cannot solely run on professional approach but always need “personal touch” to ensure successful execution of the event. Hospitability is something which comes naturally to India and this is something which the Global Exhibition industry can learn from Indian Exhibition industry.

How do you think has digitalization contributed to the growth of the industry? How do you inculcate digitalization in the work of PHDCCI?
Digitization has impacted all spheres of any industry. Similarly, the exhibition industry has quietly begun to undergo a revolution, spurred by the emergence of big data, analytics, and digital technologies. Many exhibition organizers are still happy to rely on traditional exhibit revenue streams and have been reluctant to plan for long-term digital transformation. However, it feels great when we enter an exhibition with a list of pre-aligned and time bound meetings schedule. This was only possible due to the digitization process. People of the similar interest are now able to pre-align their meetings easily due to some of the cost effective platforms available in the market. Similarly certain promotion mediums on the digital platform help us to reach wider audience in a more cost effective manner with a quantifiable feedback mechanism. Also, the new trend in providing the soft copy of show catalogue though a barcode scanner has helped the industry to save paper and natural resources. At PHDCCI, we have ensured to upgrade with changing times and have accepted new technology to stay ahead of the competition. We have constantly upgraded our servers, portals, etc and ensure the use of latest authorized software only. Along with this our exhibition team has adopted new digital platforms which have shown a considerable increase in the results, coordination and revenue of our department.

What do you think are the emerging trends in the Industry?
There were times when visitors would walk in the exhibition and spend all day just browsing through one booth to another and without getting the insight about the ‘actual’ product and services being offered. As the changes knocked the entire experience and flow of the events and everyone started talking about the ROI for exhibitors and visitors, the first major change that was witnessed was Pre-scheduled meeting or more conveniently baptized match making. This trend has helped in more meaningful and successful business happening on the show floor. The idea was to give a more meaningful outing to the exhibitors and visitors as both wanted to gain the maximum output for their money and efforts. Thus, the Pre-Scheduled Meetings have substantially gained the title of Match Making more like ‘Rab ne bana di jodi’ rather than randomly meeting some as ‘Luck by chance’

What are your upcoming national and international plans?
PHDCCI is organizing its flagship event PITEX – Punjab International Trade Expo , it’s the 13th edition which is held every year in first week of December at Amritsar, Punjab, further we have Festival De La India – Exclusive India Product show at Santiago, Chile, India Pavilion at Paper World and Christmas World, Frankfurt, Germany, India Pavilion at Bangladesh Printing & Packaging Expo, Dhaka, India Pavilion at 39th Gift, Premium & Housewares Show, Beijing, China and 2nd Edition of Bes of India Show at, Baku, Azerbaijan in next quarter.

Guest Editor

Naveen Seth Director,

Exhibitions, PHD Chamber

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