IMEX 2010 signals global growth and strong business outlook
Friday 12, March 2010
The eighth IMEX will open on May 25th at Messe Frankfurt with its largest ever hosted buyer programme in place and buyer, exhibitor and trade visitor targets all on course for year-on-year growth.
“We have spent the last 12 months concentrating on developing new partnerships with intermediaries who can deliver more high quality buyers from the most important and resilient long-haul markets,” explains IMEX Group Chairman, Ray Bloom. “What is more, we have made sure that a large proportion of these buyers will be staying for three full days and also spending longer on the show floor meeting and doing business with exhibitors.”
45 new hosted buyer groups have been confirmed for IMEX 2010; with many of these new buyers coming through key global hotel groups who have expanded the regions from which they are delivering clients. These include Marriott International, Mandarin Oriental, Kempinski, Hilton, Starwood, the Ritz, Rocco Forte, Concorde, Sol Melia and Leading Hotels of the World.
A total of 50 exhibitors have already increased their stand space compared to 2009. From Europe, Switzerland, Luxembourg, the Czech Tourism Authority, Romania, Serbia, Iceland, Meet Sicily and Figur Tourism will all have a larger presence at the show. Continued strength among Asian exhibitors is also demonstrated by increased space for Seoul, Korea, Malaysia, Macau, Indonesia and Japan. From the Middle East, Qatar and Discovery Jordan will be taking bigger stands, whilst further growth in the Latin American market has prompted Argentina and Uruguay to increase their stand space. Other larger exhibitors include St Petersburg Express, China, DMC South Africa and the Canadian Tourism Commission. Among the hotel groups, Rezidor, Ritz Carlton, Steigenberger, Möevenpick, Fairmont/Swissotel Raffles, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Rixos Hotels have also increased the size of their stands.
Hotels also account for a number of brand new exhibitors to IMEX 2010. These include Scandic Hotels, Albert Management and Warwick Hotel International who are making a welcome return. Visitors will also see Columbia, Meeting Point International, Showcare, DMC4EU, Business on Cruise and Green Globe Tourism exhibiting for the first time. Abercrombie & Kent return to IMEX with their biggest stand ever.
Spain has once again increased its presence at IMEX. This now makes it second only to the GCB Germany stand in terms of size. Spanish exhibitors now account for 800 square metres, which includes separate stands for Valencia and Madrid for the first time this year.
In addition three suppliers brand new to the meetings industry will each be celebrating winning a free place on the Wild Card Pavilion. This year’s winners are: Uganda; Morzine in France and the Hof Conference Center in Iceland.
The US Pavilion will once again be an extremely diverse and business-centred section of the show. Anchorage, Arizona, Chicago, Texas, the Eastern Seaboard and New York City will all be present. Las Vegas also plans to bring up to 16 partner exhibitors to Frankfurt.
Also new this year will be the offer of discounted airfares from Qantas. Qantas operates 28 flights a week from London Heathrow via the Far East into seven gateway cities across Australia and will be making the discount fares available to all approved IMEX participants.
Association Day – results revealed
This year’s IMEX Association Day will be held at the Messe Frankfurt Congress Center. This important annual event allows association buyers and planners to participate in a tailor-made education and networking programme. Concurrent and themed sessions for 2010 include: Strategic Global Planning for Associations; How to Decide where to Hold International Congresses and Leveraging Conference Content Online. The day’s educational programme will also include ‘Convention 2020 Research - A Snapshot of The Future of Association Meetings.’ Following the educational element, suppliers from recognised association partners of IMEX will be invited to network with Association Day guests. This evening drinks reception frequently draws up to 700 people and has become the unofficial start of the show, taking place as it does the night before opening.
Politicians Forum and Future Leaders Forum 2010
Industry leaders and politicians attending this year’s IMEX Politicians Forum will hear the views of panellists including Mr Hein Verbruggen, President of SportAccord and Honorary Member of the International Olympic Committee and the Honorary Bruce Baird, MP, Australia. Both have extensive experience of the impact a major sporting event can have on a destination and its long-term legacy and will share their insights with delegates.
As Ray Bloom, IMEX Group Chairman explains, “With each passing year the importance and influence of this Forum becomes more obvious and more direct. We now have a host of examples of destinations acquiring more funding for new infrastructure and marketing efforts in particular as a direct result of their political representatives attending the Forum, meeting like-minded politicians and understanding the wider benefits of hosting large-scale meetings and conventions in their home regions. This is extremely gratifying and precisely why we continue to pour a great deal of effort into this Forum. I am delighted to announce the Politicians Forum is already expanding into other countries through a variety of new IMEX alliances and I will announce further details after the show.”
2010 will also see a total of 13 separate IMEX-MPI Future Leaders Forums taking place at various events and in diverse destinations around the world including Serbia, Iceland, South America, the Middle East, Italy, Thailand, Poland and Shanghai together with Frankfurt and the US. The Forum’s mission is to help inform and unite the next generation of industry leaders to give them valuable insight into the industry and position them to lead it in the future. The global programme now includes internships, an International University Challenge competition and a global mentoring network.
Topical German language seminars
IMEX 2010 will present a choice of 17 German language seminars. The sessions will each address an important issue currently facing the industry in Germany. Topics will include ‘Change management in associations’ and ‘Association Sponsorships’. Detailed discussions about the growing role of corporate social responsibility will be covered in ‘CSR meets live communication’ and ‘Green meetings – change or necessity?’ Marketing and media issues will be addressed in two seminars – ‘Trends in the German media’ and ‘The challenges of online direct marketing’. Other seminars will look at current technology, logistical and liability issues. The programme has been devised by the German Convention Bureau.
Simple new green measures
IMEX has also taken the market’s appetite for environmental education and green suppliers into account by developing a new green education and awareness programme. New drop-in workshops will take place every hour on the Corporate Responsibility Stand (powered by the Green Meeting Industry Council). These will offer live case studies from previous IMEX Green Award winners plus insight into the many green meeting industry standards that now exist, including the GRI Report Initiative, Green Globe Certification, ISO and APEX. Other topics will also be addressed.
Exhibitors will also be able to apply for a new Green Ribbon scheme this year. If their exhibition stands meet a number of criteria relating to reduced waste output, energy usage and the use of sustainable materials, all staff will be able to wear an IMEX 2010 ‘Green Team’ ribbon.
Explains Dale Hudson, Head of Project Development, IMEX Group, “We hope that the new green ribbons will give those exhibitors who’ve made special environmental efforts for 2010 more visibility and make them easier for buyers to spot. They are intended to be a good talking point and we know that buyers want quick and simple ways to see that those companies they are doing business with are environmentally aware.”
Giving education a new edge
Other seminars and presentations at IMEX will include Women’s Forum sessions on ’How to develop your personal branding’ plus a Cross-Cultural seminar on ‘Getting a competitive edge from culture’ by Richard Lewis Communications. A team from the COP15 taskforce will also look at ‘How to implement extremely sustainable events that transform a destination’ and share the lessons learned from the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009. Teachings from New York Times Bestselling book ‘Influencer’ will also be presented. A number of industry associations will also be delivering seminars including CIC’s ‘In alphabet soup’ and DMAI’s ‘How to establish and build a CVB.’
The Professional Development and Innovation Pavilion is again expected to be extremely popular. Sponsored by CIC (Convention Industry Council) it will also host IMEX’s new Meetings Under the Microscope education programme. Launched last year, this scheme aims to help meeting planners keep up to date with the latest ideas and advice on how to improve meeting content delivery and information retention. One of this year’s speakers will be Graphic Facilitator, Andrew Parks of Cognitive Media who will demonstrate the power and purpose of live illustration as an ‘edutainment’ tool for meetings.
First phase of global research results made public
Earlier this year IMEX joined forces with ICCA and Fast Future to fund and support an important new piece of global research. The ‘Convention 2020’ Strategic Foresight Study will look in detail at the conventions industry in 10 years’ time. The study is being conducted by a large team from research and trends company, Fast Future. Its CEO, Rohit Talwar, will present six different seminars, each detailing the study’s first phase findings. His presentations will include ‘Meeting the technology timeline’, ‘The Meeting Experience’ plus an interactive workshop looking at the potential long-term impact of the study’s results on the design of venues and their services.
Also new this year is a partnership with i-Meet, the industry’s largest online social network. This will enable IMEX hosted buyers to network with each other and share ideas in a private online environment both before and after the exhibition. IMEX will create a “community within the community” at i-Meet, and offer various ways for attendees to join.
Summing up the benefits of IMEX 2010, IMEX Group Chairman, Ray Bloom, says: “IMEX continues to advance, invest and innovate. This year will be no exception. In fact, with industry sentiment both realistic and robust, we must continue to deliver on all fronts. That means high quality buyers; high numbers of genuine business appointments; satisfied exhibitors; targeted, relevant and interesting professional education and, not least, the chance to meet old colleagues and peers face to face as well as developing new contacts. Never has IMEX been more comprehensive, or more necessary for business.”
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