It has been almost two years since Ray Bloom, chairman of IMEX, announced the launch of the new IMEX America show at a press conference in October 2009. Standing alongside Bruce MacMillan, president and CEO of Meeting Professionals International, a key education partner for the show, and host city representative Rossi Ralenkotter, president of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Bloom promised to deliver the North American meetings and incentives industry’s largest-ever hosted-buyer program.

Now, just three weeks until the show opens October 11 at the Sands Expo, he appears to have fulfilled his promise. IMEX Group is reporting that more than 2,000 hosted buyers are expected in Las Vegas.

Buyers will be have the chance to network with more than 1,800 exhibitors from 100 countries (here’s the exhibitor list), attend an impressive schedule of educational sessions, and benefit from having 14 co-located trade association events.

On October 10, or “Smart Monday,” MPI will deliver a lineup of speakers and education that includes sessions on negotiation, virtual meetings, strategic meetings management, meeting design, and more; a Blue Man Group behind-the-scenes luncheon; and a networking reception. Confirmed speakers include workplace consultant Cheryl Cran; Sam Smith, Interactive Meeting Technology; James Musgrave, Leeds Metropolitan University; and Stephanie Harris, American Express.

On Smart Monday, association professionals have an agenda of their own under the umbrella of IMEX America Association Day & Evening. The education has been arranged by ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership, working with the International Congress and Convention Association, and is being supported by the IMEX America host hotel, the Venetian/Palazzo, and audiovisual provider PSAV.

Educational events will continue throughout the week. MPI has arranged a thought-provoking speaker each day before the doors open on the show floor. The morning keynoters include Robin Sieger, Scottish businessman and international best-selling author of Natural Born Winners; Peter Sheahan, workforce trends expert and author of Fl!p; and Dr. Brené Brown, an award-winning educator and research professor focused on business cultures.

In addition, IMEX and its supporting association partners will offer a smorgasbord of seminars and “campfire” events—free 30-minute workshops held at an educational drop-in area called the Learning Curve Zone.

Attendees can expect the quality of the exhibit hall to be comparable to IMEX in Frankfurt, according to Carina Bauer, IMEX CEO, with a much higher ratio of hard-wall booths than one typically sees at America’s meeting industry trade shows.

Among the exhibitors will be at least two new to meetings industry shows: Honduras and Zero-G, which charters a specially modified Boeing 727 that allows flyers to experience weightlessness. They are the winners of the IMEX America’s Wild Card Americas competition for new and emerging destinations. The winners receive booth space and other perks, allowing them to make the most of the show.