IMEX 2004 exceeds expectations
IMEX 2004, the worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events, realised organisers’ ambition this year by delivering a show that did not only produce business but was vibrant, youthful and truly international.
After just two years, IMEX, which was held at Messe Frankfurt, has become a leading worldwide exhibition exclusively for the MICE industry. The show united more than 12,000 industry professionals including representatives of the 2,500 exhibiting companies representing 130 countries.
Targets of hosted buyers were exceeded with over 2,800 buyers attending the exhibition, including 250 from long-haul markets outside of western Europe. Just over 3,000 German buyers also attended, a testimony to the powerful partnership established between IMEX and the German Convention Bureau (GCB).
Speaking at the show’s closing press conference, IMEX chairman Ray Bloom announced that the event would continue to concentrate on delivering buyers from the all-important long-haul destinations, especially the US, Asia, Australia and South America. Bloom reiterated IMEX’s commitment to holding a show that delivers genuine opportunities to do business; a fact demonstrated by one exhibitor who achieved its business quota for the entire three days in just the first three hours. This is supported by research amongst IMEX hosted buyers revealing that 51 per cent of them hold annual budgets of $500,000 or over, and one in three is responsible for more than $1 million spend per year.
He added that these business contacts began last year with the launch of the hugely-successful IMEX Virtual Exhibition. In the month leading up to the show alone, 175,000 visits to the Virtual Exhibition were recorded.
Not only does IMEX provide solid business opportunities but it continues to deliver value through its MICE industry-specific professional development campaigns. This year’s Association Day presented a series of panel discussions on association management topics. The evening united more than 700 people, of whom 200 were association meeting planners – an increase of 10 per cent on last year.
The Future Leaders’ Forum also exceeded its attendance target when an additional 35 students registered on the day, bringing the total to 185. They heard several industry speakers, both young and old, including sponsoring company president, Andre Cointreau of Le Cordon Bleu, encourage them to think passionately about the meetings industry. Young professional, Katrin Schmitt of CIM magazine told them that MICE industry employment prospects were good, with a rise in job opportunities of between three and four per cent forecast over the next two years, according to Meeting Professionals Inter-national’s Future Watch report.
This year’s newest initiative, the Le Cordon Bleu Professional Development Pavilion, was also a clear hit with visitors. The Pavilion brought together information and resources from more than 30 different education and training providers, making it both easy and very quick for those wanting to research what’s available and how they compare.
These initiatives, together with other new vision programmes, such as multiculturalism, women’s issues, corporate social responsibility and environmental management, will be further developed and enhanced. Bloom concluded by proudly announcing that, having surpassed growth expectations in the first two years, taking 13,000 sq m over two floors in 2004, IMEX will move into Hall 8 from 2005, a full year ahead of schedule.