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December 5, 2010

Heavy snow can’t stop rising visitor numbers at EIBTM 2010

Attendance up on 2009 for global meetings and events trade show.

Despite the severe weather conditions across Europe, the number of trade visitors to this year’s 22nd European Incentive Business Travel and Meetings (EIBTM) exhibition at the Fira Barcelona was up 5% on 2009 at 4,010. Total attendance was also up 1% on last year at 8,395.

London Gatwick airport’s closure, however, does seem to have affected the number of hosted buyers who attended the event, which dropped by just over 1% to 3,582. Many were stranded when the airport closed for 48 hours. Despite this, those hosted buyers who did get to the show undertook more than 55,000 pre-scheduled appointments, a 1.35% increase on 2009 (subject to final confirmation).

“We tried to do everything in our power to get these buyers out of the UK, but sadly the conditions prevented them leaving. However, we are obviously delighted that those who did get to the event – some having travelled via alternative routes, and many taking up to 12 hours to arrive – proved that this was where they needed to be for their business,” says EIBTM event director Graeme Barnett.

He adds that EIBTM organiser Reed Travel Exhibitions is in the process of contacting every Buyer who didn´t make it to the show to help them make contact with the exhibitors they had planned to meet.

“We chartered a plane to get 224 of our hosted buyers and exhibitors back to the UK and organised coach travel on landing,” Barnett continues.

Catch the buzz
Some 3,125 exhibiting companies from more than 90 countries attended this year’s who. Visitors, meanwhile, were offered the chance to attend a record 59 professional education sessions, while more 100 satellite events were held in and around the show.

Elling Hamso of the European Event ROI Institute, who organised one such session, Project Meeting Architecture, actually found it “annoying” that it had taken him 45 minutes to get from one end of the hall to the other for a meeting because there were so many people on the show floor. “I reckon that Wednesday was a record day for EIBTM, congratulations”, he says.


Getting to know you: EIBTM's Happy Hour encouraging networking saw packed stands

One of the new initiatives this year was the introduction of EIBTM TV – a live news channel broadcast on screens around the show floor. Also online at www.eibtm.com, the content means that those buyers who didn’t attend EIBTM have been able to view three days worth of event news and will be able to see the education sessions and presentations as well at a later date.

“While we realise this doesn’t replace the face-to-face contact at EIBTM, it is perfect timing, as we hope that those who didn´t make it to the show will be able to follow and catch up with all of the latest news, interviews, and features,” says Barnett.

Improving economic climate

This year’s new format CEO Summit attracted 60 industry leaders from around the world, who listened to three speakers. They included UK economist Professor Dominic Swords, who spoke of the “huge business potential for the industry in post-recession growth with signs that the global economy is improving and CEOs are signing off discretionary spend, as people become cautiously optimistic”.

When he asked the audience for their opinions of this statement, 75% of delegates confirmed that they too believed that their businesses had seen a shift in optimism over the past year.

Next up in the Reed Travel Exhibitions global portfolio is AIME 2011, which takes place in Melbourne, Australia in February.

For more information, and to view EIBTM TV, visit www.eibtm.com

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