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April 11, 2008

IMEX PREVIEW: International growth

The sixth IMEX will open its doors on 22 April at Messe Frankfurt. Rises in the number of exhibitors, plus hosted buyers and key German decision-makers will make this IMEX the largest and busiest to date.

More than 450 hosted buyer groups are expected, including five from China, 22 from the USA, five from South Africa, four from Australia and three from Brazil. In addition Poland will account for seven hosted buyer groups this year. This expansion in IMEX’s trademark long-haul hosting programme has been supported by official airline Lufthansa, plus Etihad, Continental, Swiss, Virgin, Air Tahiti Nui, United and airline networks Skyteam and Star Alliance (IMEX’s official airline network).

A boost in the numbers of high quality North American planners is also anticipated thanks to the co-location of The European Meetings and Events Conference, delivered by MPI, which takes place in London the weekend prior to IMEX.

High exhibitor demand
Notable exhibition space increases have been seen from across the Asia-Pacific region including Australia, Japan, Macau and Singapore. Bulgaria also returns with a 76% larger stand, while Croatia, the Czech Republic, Montenegro and Slovakia have all increased their presence. Other boosts in stand space have come from Argentina, France, Costa Rica, Germany, Greece, Malta, Norway, South Africa, Spain and Tunisia.

US representation will also be higher with Las Vegas, Texas Tourism, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, California Tourism and Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau joining established IMEX exhibitors New Orleans, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York City and Florida in a new centralised US quarter.

Organisers have also seen an increase in participation from leading hotel groups, with up to six new groups exhibiting plus increases from 13 others.

The IMEX Corporate Programme has also expanded this year to welcome buyers from across the world. An innovative educational session – The Event Brain - led by Eventia and Eventology - will take the form of a traditional and interactive “Oxbridge” debate focussing on the reasons why people buy event services and what process their brain goes through in making these decisions. The IMEX Association Day on 21 April is also due to highlight new meeting techniques with the World Café and Wiki Workshops introducing a fresh format.

With almost 60 different workshops, seminars and forums taking place in English and German, IMEX will also provide a wide choice of topical professional development opportunities for meetings professionals at all levels.

PCMA first time appearance
Highlights of this year’s seminar programme include “Storm Clouds or Silver Linings” on Tuesday 22 April. This trend-centred debate, organised jointly by AIPC (International Association of Congress Centres) and ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) will bring together senior international experts from both association and corporate disciplines to provide a cross-sector, multicultural perspective on the industry’s future. Participating in an IMEX seminar for the first time will be US association, the PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association). PCMA President and CEO, Deborah Sexton, will be joined by Bruce Macmillan, President and CEO of MPI (Meeting Professionals International), Geoff Donaghy, Managing Director of the Cairns Convention Centre and Vice President of AIPC, and Jurraien Sleijster, Executive Vice President of MCI and Board Member of ICCA. Rod Cameron, President of Criterion Communications, will moderate.

The Professional Development Pavilion, again sponsored by the Convention Industry Council, will provide an educational centerpiece throughout the show. The Pavilion will host 16 different drop-in educational events over three days, including “I’ll never forget whathisname” by writer and author, Tony Carey and “Future trends and challenges” by CEO of Fast Future, internationally-renowned Rohit Talwar.

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