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December 8, 2008

EIBTM Review:The empire strikes back

Paul Kennedy MBE, the mastermind behind the revival and proliferation of the IBTM family has an uncanny resemblance to Yoda, the Jedi Master from George Lucas's Star Wars films. The resemblance extends to the meetings industry where the diminutive figure himself has successfully deployed his extraordinary powers of knowledge and influence within the Reed Travel Exhibitions empire and the industry galaxy itself to ensure that EIBTM is now the most potent event for global planners and buyers to meet the world.
Kennedy also used last week's blockbuster to extend relationships with MPI, the trade body with global ambitions and the industry's leading educational provider, by announcing the co-location of their respective regional events where best professional education aligned to MPI's recently announced eight-part Knowledge Plan will feature strongly at both the IBTM events and respective MPI regional conferences.


Hmm, EIBTM good health it is in

The mood at the show was extraordinary. The MEETINGS:review crew arrived amid a backdrop of miserable news from all parts of the world – Bankok in disarray, Mumbai experiencing terror attacks, all three automotive bellwethers in the US facing bankruptcy, and sensational headlines akin to “Goodbye Dubai” ringing out from the City pages of the broadsheets in London. But from the moment the show opened in glorious Barcelona sunshine, the mood was buoyant and optimistic. By the time it closed, after a record 51,000 hosted buyer meetings, countless networking events, press and product announcements, educational sessions and the largest ever EIBTM show floor rammed with destinations from Melbourne to New York, from Toronto to Hong Kong, even a cautious Roger Tondeur declared the event as “the best ever”.
Tondeur was, however, in no mood to celebrate. His own empire, the MCI Group, which recently bought and expanded Ovation, the global DMC, is expecting a turbulent 2009 and he believes some tough decisions will have to be made as corporates attempt to hold on to their cash leaving shrinkage in hospitality and incentive spend an inevitability unless the recessionary storm clouds fail to burst.
He is not expecting to have to put his umbrella back into the hatstand.
But despite Tondeur's reluctance to pop the champagne corks, the extraordinary growth in attendance by buyers at EIBTM, and concurrent reportage of excellent business prospects as a result, has left a very sweet taste in Kennedy's mouth as he heads to the annual SITE (Society of Incentive and Travel Executives) Conference in Montreux. It seems the force, for now at least, is with him.

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