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Inevitably, this year’s edition of the EIBTM Industry Trends and Market Share Report is dominated by the state of the global economy, which has increased in volatility since our last report. The prevailing mood, in the meetings and events industry as in the economy in general, is still one of recovery and confidence. But it is an increasingly uneven and uncertain recovery, the pace of which varies greatly from world region to world region.

This has been a year of two distinctive halves, which began optimistically, in the widespread belief that the worst was over, encouraged by a profusion of positive projections for the global economy as a whole. But by the second half of 2011, revised and updated data pointed to a loss of momentum across a wide range of national economies. Only two years into the post-­‐crisis recovery, the data indicated that the global economy had once again weakened as world GDP growth slowed, raising doubts about whether the recent expansion of economic activity in the advanced economies was really sustainable.

As the year draws to a close, fears of stalled growth or even a double-­‐dip recession have returned, as much of the most recent data suggests that the advanced economies in particular may be heading into another downturn in economic activity.

Macroeconomics notwithstanding, this has been a year of steady growth overall for the meetings and events industry, with much of the data indicating that both demand and price levels are rising. Demand in many sectors is now close to 2008 pre-­‐recession levels, and business confidence remains high among meetings and events professionals. It may be that, given our experiences of the past few years, we have learned to operate effectively within volatile markets by drawing on our reserves of innovative solutions and by cooperating with our stakeholders in new and imaginative ways, in order to meet head-­‐on the challenges we have encountered. There can be no doubt that this spirit of cooperation and collaboration has already created stronger intra-­‐industry relationships that will last for years to come.

Rob Davidson EIBTM Industry Analyst Senior Lecturer in Events Management, University of Greenwich.

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