Comdex Fall is on schedule to open on November 10 in Las Vegas. In late September, Kim Myhre, president of Comdex Worldwide at Key 3 Media Events, sat down with TM to discuss the impact of the September 11 tragedies on the show.
“We made the decision to go ahead with Comdex partly because it's a couple months down the road and also because we are of the mind that we really do need to get back to work,” says Myhre. “I don't think it serves anyone's interest to cancel Comdex. It certainly doesn't serve the industry's best interest. There's 800,000 square feet worth of exhibitors who plan to be there. Most of the downsizing we've seen … is budget-oriented rather than because of what happened on September 11.” Myhre has not seen dramatic cancellation from international exhibitors, but he calls international attendees “the million-dollar question.”
“I think we're in pretty uncharted territory. I assume it [the events of September 11] will have a negative effect. But I don't know how many won't come. We haven't had any conference cancellations. I'm hopeful. We're going ahead and trying to build the best event under the circumstances.
“September 11 has changed a lot. But mostly what it's done is created a tremendous amount of uncertainty. I don't think going out and marketing to attendees trying to convince them that it's safe to travel is the right thing to do. You can't take that position. All we can say is that we're moving ahead. We'll be there; we'd like you to be there.
“This is the 22nd year of Comdex. I think it would be pretty monumental for an event like Comdex to be canceled. I think that would be a tremendous victory for terrorists to kill off the largest information technology event in this country. We're moving forward, and we're doing everything we can to make it the safest event possible.”