ISO 25639 for clarity

Greater transparency for worldwide exhibition industry

An ISO standard brings greater transparency and consistency to the exhibition industry worldwide by providing internationally agreed terminology and statistical methods, thus reducing the potential for misunderstanding and disappointments between organizers and

ISO 25639:2008 is the first International Standard for exhibitions, shows, fairs and conventions. It consists of two parts, respectively addressing exhibition terminology and statistical methods.

Industry best practice
Lee Mong Ni, Secretary of the ISO project committee that developed the standard, comments: “ISO 25639 helps minimize ambiguity, confusion and misunderstanding of
terms used in the exhibition industry. It also provides a basis for objective comparisons
and evaluations across exhibitions around the world, and helps prospective exhibitors
to better gauge the quality of the exhibitions. This, in turn, helps them to decide in which
exhibitions they should participate.”

ISO 25639-1:2008, Exhibitions, shows, fairs and conventions – Part 1 : Vocabulary,
includes terms and definitions often used in the exhibition industry. It facilitates
a common and universal interpretation of this terminology, facilitating understanding
between industry players. It also helps improve professionalism and raise standards for the exhibition industry. The standard serves as a guideline for industry players to be more discerning with regard to the various statistical data released on exhibitions. ISO 25639-1 groups terms into four categories :

• Individual and entity, which lists and classifies the various types of people involved in the exhibition industry
• Type of event
• Physical item, which describes the various components such as size of the exhibition, type of facility, associated print material, etc. and
• Miscellaneous.

ISO 25639-2:2008, Exhibitions, shows, fairs and conventions – Part 2 : Measurement procedures for statistical purposes, provides standard measurement procedures
to increase confidence in statistics related to exhibitions. Stephen Tan, Chair of the ISO project committee that developed the standard, commented : “ International consensus on
the set of terminologies of ISO 25639:2008 provides the common reference that enables a high level of transparency and professionalism in an increasingly global exhibition arena. Industry players, which include exhibition organizers, contractors, venue operators, freight forwarders and auditing firms, are able to communicate consistently to all companies and corporations. This facilitates the evaluation of statistical information and thereafter, the
decision-making process.”

Since its publication, ISO 25639 has been used by many national exhibition industry associations and has gained international recognition and acceptance. The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI), a leading worldwide association for exhibition organizations, has aligned its terminology and measurement procedures according to ISO 25639.

UFI, which represents 587 member organizations in 85 countries, said the ISO standard is a very useful reference for clarifying definitions with its stakeholders, especially those from outside the exhibitions industry.

ISO 25639 has been adopted either through direct use or adoption as a national standard by countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Republic of Korea, Malaysia and Singapore.

Ms. Dilys Yong, Chairperson of the Singapore National Mirror Committee, commented: “Since ISO 25639 was published in 2008, the standard has been implemented by more than 90 % of the trade exhibition organizers in Singapore.”

After a systematic review, ISO 25639 was recently confirmed, without amendment, for another five years.

This article originally appeared in the ISO Focus magazine.


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