IMEX — The Worldwide Exhibition for Incentive Travel, Meetings, and Events — celebrated its 10th anniversary May 22-24 in Frankfurt, Germany, with an appropriate amount of nostalgia but not a huge amount of fanfare. It was a fitting way for the quiet but enormously successful show organizer, IMEX Group, to note the milestone.
Welcoming roughly 9,000 visitors and exhibitors, including some 4,000 hosted buyers — Ray Bloom, chairman of IMEX Group, said at the opening ceremony that he launched IMEX shortly after the “millennium bug” was supposed to cause global computer chaos. He also had the new show's plans well in the works before the terrorist attacks of 9/11 in the United States, but he persevered, as did the entire meetings industry.
Acknowledging that the industry was coming through another period of economic uncertainty, Bloom said at the opening, “I believe we are at a crossroads. If the industry is ever to be recognized as a truly global player, a genuine machine for economic growth, then we must aim to rise above the short-term effect of economic cycles. We must continue to act collectively, to speak with one voice on issues that affect us all, and to push assertively for recognition and greater understanding. The desire is there, the will is there, and the momentum is growing.”
Innovation continued to dominate IMEX, with bite-sized educational offerings sprinkled throughout the day, many on the show floor. IMEX educational partners, the Convention Industry Council, hosted the Inspiration Centre; and the Green Meeting Industry Council hosted the Sustainability Centre. “Tech Tap,” coordinated by the Meeting Support Institute, drew the newest technologies for events, including a product launch from industry stalwart SpotMe.
The gala celebration on Wednesday night, which is traditionally the evening when IMEX recognizes its “academy award” winners as well as a slew of sustainability awards, also showcased awards from Meeting Professionals International, Site, and the Professional Convention Management Association.
IMEX America takes place in Las Vegas, October 9-11.