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Exhibition World | Interview21In particular we have been in touch with large venuesthat are having difficulties maintaining smaller shows. Ilike to say that easyFairs is designed like a speedboat,able to react very quickly. We are process rather thanproject-driven so we can run smaller shows more easilyand efficiently. So long as there is a market for a showwe will introduce the content and the cost-effectiveformat that will restore it to profitability. And that is alwaysgood news for the exhibitor and visitor communities.Are there any countries or regions that you wouldparticularly like to enter, or expand Easyfairs'business in, over the next 24 months? Are thereany issues you would like to see addressed in orderfor you to do business there more successfully?The real obstacle to international expansion isprotectionism. If the exhibition industry does not takecare of protectionism, protectionism will take care of us.If we are to survive in the new business climate then wecannot cling to outdated practices that are a dead weighton the natural creativity and dynamism of the best peoplein our industry. In many countries things are not changingfast enough. Protectionism has certainly hampered ourgrowth plans in Latin America where entrenchedinterests are often very resistant to change andentrepreneurialism. It is a shame, because the peoplewho suffer most are locally based businesses.What would you be doing if you weren't executivechairman at Easyfairs?I wear several hats so there is enough to keep me fullyoccupied outside Easyfairs, especially now with the UFIpresidency. For example I am also executive chairman ofArtexis, one of Belgium's largest public exhibitionsorganisers, and owner-manager of four of Belgium's largestexhibition and conference complexes. I am a father of four,which can also be a full-time occupation especially nowthat my children are in their teenage years. But my real passion is for mountaineering. If I could, Iwould spend a lot more time scaling the greatest peaks inEurope and beyond.If you never had to work again, what would you dowith your time?This question is very difficult for me to answer as I intend towork until I draw my last breath. I am very passionateabout the exhibition industry so I expect to spend moretime supporting new projects as an investor or businessangel. I love to have new projects and set myself newgoals.Do you support any football teams?I have many interests and passions in life but professionalfootball is not one of them. However I do turn out forEasyfairs HQ when we play our national managingdirectors - and that is a fixture that always inflamespassions.For an extended version of this interview, including content onEasyfairs' plans for the future, log on to THE MAGAZINE FOR THE GLOBAL EXHIBITION COMMUNITY WWW.EXHIBITION-WORLD.NET| Nov/Dec 2010|1964Born in Uccle, Brussels1988Founded the European Student Fair1991 - 1995Managing director Reed ExhibitionsBenelux (Reed-Elsevier Group)1995 - 1996Director Reed Midem, Paris (Reed-Elsevier Group)1997 - 2000Partner of direct marketing company KI Partners 1997Founded Artexis, leading organiser oftradefairs and consumer shows inBelgium2001CEO and shareholder of Best of Group SA2002Acquisition and management of theexhibition halls in Antwerp andNamur 2004Invented "the Easyfairs concept" of timeand cost-effective tradeshows2007Acquisition of Flanders Expo200????Elected incoming president of UFIWho is Eric Everard?