AIME Event Highlights Buyer's Market For the first time since its inception eight years ago, the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME '99) accepted exhibitors outside the Asia Pacific region at the February trade show, held at the Melbourne Exhibition & Conference Center (MECC). Among the newcomers were Dubai and Alberta, Canada, which both reported strong interest and booked business from buyers in both hemispheres. The show attracted a record number of delegates, hosted buyers, and exposition visitors--nearly 3,000.

The theme of the Asia Pacific Business Events Forum, held the day before the AIME Expo, was Keeping the Spotlight on Asia Pacific. Industry experts concurred there was a crisis but encouraged meeting planners to take advantage of favorable currency exchange rates and the willingness of hotels and ancillary services to "make a deal." This buyer's market is expected to continue in the region for the next few years.

Gary Grimmer, CEO of the Melbourne Convention and Marketing Bureau, said he hopes to license AIME's organization and staging next year to a commercial operator.

QANTAS Airlines, a major sponsor of AIME, hosted the U.S. buyers. For more information on AIME 2000, contact Mondotels at (212) 575-2262.--Jonathan Kean