The upcoming European Incentive & Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition, to be held May 13 to 15 at Geneva's Palexpo Exhibition Centre, will be a very different-and significantly larger-event from the first EIBTM in 1988.

The 1988 event featured 450 exhibitors from 52 countries, display space totaling 32,000 square feet, and 700 hosted buyers (buyers who travel and stay free as guests of the organizers).

This year, 2,200 exhibitors representing more than 100 countries will occupy display space of 140,000 square feet, displaying their wares to more than 3,000 buyers. The total number of visitors expected? At least 7,000.

The hosted buyer program is largely responsible for the success of EIBTM, according to Ray Bloom, EIBTM chairman. He says EIBTM works with some 200 intermediaries, including publications, associations, and meeting suppliers, who target top buyers.

Changes in EIBTM include a variety of new programs and initiatives, among them a Youth in Business Tourism program, aimed at encouraging a greater participation by youth in the industry, and an expansion of EIBTM's Greening of Business Tourism campaign. The campaign, headed by Bloom's daughter, Natalie, focuses on environmental protection, from the way new conference centers are built to energy conservation measures.

In other news, the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) has selected EIBTM Holdings Ltd. to manage and operate an exhibition for its members, for the most part tourist boards, convention bureaus, hotels, and professional congress organizers, during its General Assembly and Congress, October 26 to 31 in Salzburg, Austria. The focus of the exhibition will be technology aimed at suppliers to the meetings industry.