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April 26, 2016

IMEX Frankfurt 2016: Fulfilling Political Optimism

IMEX Frankfurt 2016: Fulfilling political optimism from Fred Productions Ltd. on Vimeo.

Last week’s IMEX Frankfurt, the 14th edition, brought an estimated 13,000 buyers (c4,000 on a hosted basis) conducting nearly 70,000 individual or group meetings with over 3,500 exhibiting companies. The event was hailed by commentators as something of a family and industry affair – a compliment to the private owners of both the European event and IMEX America – the latter held annually in Las Vegas in October.

What consolidated the event's position within the industry calendar was the quality of attendees across the industry spectrum – from corporate event and association meeting planners, from industry associations and political policymakers – realizing access to further co-located political, educational, and networking events taking place beyond the show floor. 

At the closing press conference IMEX Chairman Ray Bloom emphasized the growing importance that business events play in the diversification of local and regional economies within key industry clusters – his point illustrated by the keynote address at the IMEX Politicians Forum delivered by a Minister of Trade as well as Tourism & Major Events. Amid concerns regarding geopolitical stability, the prospect of a U.S. surge towards protectionism, and the prospect of a Brexit in Europe, the 35-year old Hon. Minister Stuart Ayres from New South Wales used the platform to warn against resistance to free trade and open borders, instead advocating the need “to prosecute a strong case for why business events add value to your economy” in a presentation entitled “How Meetings and Events Can Fulfill Political Optimism.”

It's all about saying these events have the ability to change policy settings in our own countries,” Ayres said. “They have the capacity to bring innovation into our cities, into our states, but they also provide the opportunity for our innovators, for our thinkers, for our creative people, to get on to the world stage.”

Underscoring Ayres' support for free trade were the industry megatrends in globalization and internationalization released by the German Convention Bureau (GCB) and its partners via the results from the "German Meeting and Business Event Barometer," which illustrated that international attendees to business events in IMEX's host country had doubled in the 10 years since the inception of the annual report. If anyone knows what liberalization and building connections does to impact economic sustainability, let alone promote tourism, it must surely be the German experience since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Predictably Matthias Schultze, GCB managing director, didn't waste time unveiling statistics to emphasize the contribution of business events to Germany's expertise in key clusters following Ayres presentation. 

And underscoring the German experience, and Ayres' point further, will be the forthcoming release of James Latham's report from Sydney, New South Wales, where investments in meeting and business events infrastructure (and marketing) are coming to a boil as strategic efforts mount to grow a knowledge and creative society whilst building further engagement with a booming Asia responsible for over 60 percent of the world's infrastructure investments.


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About the Author: James Latham

James Latham





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