WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT that an international business travel trade fair begun in 2003, when the world was facing SARS, an economic slowdown, and war in Iraq, would survive, let alone thrive? Well, it has: IMEX number three, which took place April 18-21 at Messe Frankfurt, was the largest and best-attended yet.
The best way to understand this year's IMEX is to fast forward to the end of the show. On Thursday afternoon, the show's final afternoon — when many exhibitions are all but finished — IMEX was going strong, with many people still working the show floor.
IMEX attracted more than 7,000 visitors, including 3,000 hosted buyers from 50 world markets, and a record 3,000 exhibitors representing 140 countries. The most hosted buyers came from Germany and the U.K., but also from as far as Australia, South Africa, and China. Germany, of course, was the largest exhibitor. Buyers used IMEX's Web site to schedule 25,000 meetings at the show.
At a press conference on the final day, IMEX Chairman Ray Bloom noted the success of several IMEX initiatives:
Meeting Professionals International has formally joined with IMEX to enhance the show's Future Leaders Forum, launched in 2003 for students interested in joining the meeting industry. The program had been open only to students from Europe and Asia, but it will now be available to students from North America. Thirty to 40 North American students will attend MPI's 2005 World Education Congress July 10 to 12 in Miami as part of the new North American Future Leaders Forum.
For the third year, IMEX held a Politicians Forum that invited 15 European politicians from 10 countries to discuss economic and political issues surrounding the meetings, incentives, and events industry. Many of the politicians were from new EU destinations and former Eastern European countries such as Lithuania, Slovenia, Poland, Hungary, and Croatia.
IMEX welcomed a 40-person delegation of senior executives from Helms-Briscoe. In addition, IMEX hosted MPI's Global Corporate Circle of Excellence, a group of senior-level corporate meeting managers, who also attended for the first time this year.
IMEX 2006 will take place May 30 to June 1 at Messe Frankfurt.
Let's Try That Again
In the meeting-industry timeline in our March issue, the information on MeetingMatrix, the first room-diagramming software, should have said that it was created and released in 1989 by SCLM Software Inc., now MeetingMatrix International Inc.