The event industry welcomes a dynamic and credible new voice for exhibition organisers: the Association of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO).
Exhibitions are a powerful platform to stimulate trade and attract foreign investment to the African continent. In order to initiate a more successful relationship between exhibitors and exhibition organisers, a credible governing body is required. In response to this need, the Association of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO) was launched recently. AAXO is an industry pioneer, with a proactive approach towards promoting and serving the exhibitions industry. With a clear understanding of the needs of exhibition organisers and the specific challenges which they face, AAXO is able to provide leadership, governance and guidance. With its finger on the pulse of the constant changes in the profession, AAXO is able to anticipate the needs of its members, and take dynamic steps to tackle those requirements head on.
AAXO was formed through a collaboration between some the largest, most successful and experienced event organisers across a range of trade, consumer- and conference-driven exhibitions in southern Africa, namely Specialised Exhibitions Montgomery, MMI South Africa, Hypenica, Thebe Reed Exhibitions, Spintelligent, Terrapinn, The Wedding Group, LTE - Leaders in Trade Exhibitions, SA Confex Services, TE Trade Events, Exposure Marketing and Inspire Trade Exhibitions. AAXO has already engaged with a number of stakeholders, and the association is rapidly gaining traction. The ITE Group plc and Mining Indaba, for example, have expressed an interest in joining AAXO, given the wealth of benefits that membership offers.
AAXO has an action-oriented approach, which will be directed towards alleviating the pressures that exhibition organisers face. It has taken the initiative and identified a number of areas where it can add value. Firstly, AAXO will assist in regulating the industry and hold exhibition organisers to a code of conduct to ensure increased transparency and better governance. AAXO will also promote the implementation of industry best practices.
Another critical function is AAXO's role as mediator which will give exhibitors an avenue of recourse if a dispute should arise, while assisting exhibition organisers with finding a sensitive and practical solution. This intermediary function and the AAXO code of conduct reassures potential exhibitors of the quality and reliability of an exhibition. This is essential in order to promote a productive and thriving exhibition industry.
Another crucial role for AAXO is to represent exhibition organisers and their best interests, as well as add value for exhibitors. A significant portion of the support and assistance AAXO will provide for its members relates to relationship building with current and potential exhibitors. AAXO will also give members access to material which can be passed on to their exhibitors, such as guidelines and tips, and will even be arranging training workshops and roadshows designed specifically for exhibitors. This will ensure smoother relations between exhibitors and exhibition organisers.
One upcoming event is AAXO's free Exhibitor Training Day, which will discuss how to maximise the power of exhibitions as a marketing medium and how to measure return on investment. This event, which will be held on the 14th of October 2015 at the Ticketpro Dome, is exclusively for exhibitors linked to AAXO members. Another event, which is oriented towards exhibition organisers, is a talk being held by the CEO of Cape Town International Convention Centre. The presentation will be given to AAXO members on the CTICC's 2017 expansion plan and how it will affect organisers. This as well as the next AAXO meeting is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, the 26th of August at 14h00, at Thebe Reed Place, in the Culross on Main Office Park, 34 Culross Road, Bryanston, Johannesburg.
Finally, AAXO will help to promote the industry and encourage its growth by commissioning market research and related projects that provide a strong rationale for people to invest and participate in exhibitions.
According to Projeni Pather, Managing Director of Exposure Marketing, "AAXO is an incredible resource for exhibition organisers. The drive and energy of the organisation means a very proactive approach to problem solving, and strong leadership for members who need guidance and assistance. AAXO members are represented by a trustworthy and reliable organisation with an in-depth understanding of the industry and its issues."
Dee Reuvers, CEO of SA Confex Services, adds, "AAXO, with its significant organising experience, also offers small and start-up companies the benefit of mentorship. This ensures the future success of exhibitions and exhibitor participation at the standard that is expected."
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