WITH its highest-ever visitor numbers and strongest hosted buyer programme yet, Imex ended on a four-year high.
Imex chairman Ray Bloom told a closing ceremony audience he was delighted that Imex has developed a genuine reputation for industry innovation and for a level of detailed and attentive organisation that is widely appreciated by visitors and exhibitors alike.
He announced total visitor numbers for 2006 of 7,600 - of which over 3,400 were hosted buyers from 57 countries in total. This compares to 7,130 visitors in 2005 and exceeds this year’s forecast of 7,500.
Talking about the Imex Hosted Buyer programme, Bloom announced that it would be further expanded and developed in 2007 with an increased concentration on long-haul buyers. This year buyers travelled from markets as diverse as Iceland, Serbia, Libya, Honduras and the UAE with increased numbers from South Africa, India and Russia noted in particular.
New partnerships with both Star Alliance and Skyteam in 2006 have added more than 20 global airlines to the programme. These relationships will be built upon in the coming months. As official airline partner, Lufthansa also continues to play a key role. Imex’s ability to deliver high quality buyers from diverse world markets, including a strong bond with the US, has been a talking point amongst exhibitors this year with many also commenting on the increased number of Asian, Russian and Eastern European buyers at Imex. Bloom assured his audience this commitment to emerging markets would continue to be a strong focus for the future.
He said, “After four years, it is clear that our exhibitors now see Imex as the true gateway into the world market. Be they established destinations who’ve been here since year one, or new entrants to the industry, they all view Imex as a strong platform from which to launch new campaigns, new services or new products.” He also shared some of the positive feedback he had received from many of the show’s 3,300 exhibiting companies.
Talking about the successes of 2006, Bloom said this year’s Politicians’ Forum had been a great success. The most comprehensive programme to date coupled with a round-table debate format plus individual country presentations on stands had captured everyone’s imagination, he said. Added to this, the scope of Imex’s events programme had grown considerably with many more educational forums, German and English-language seminars, exhibitor events and press events than in previous years.
The Future Leaders Forum, in partnership with MPI, which has already seen more than 800 students pass through its programme since launch, will also be expanded. A new forum will take place in Warsaw, Poland, in August with the support of the Warsaw Convention Bureau.
Summing up, Bloom announced the dates for Imex over the next five years: April 17 to 19, 2007; April 22 to 24, 2008; May 26 to 28, 2009; May 25 to 27, 2010 and May 24 to 26, 2011. “Our message is clear: Imex has vision, it has heart, it has imagination and, above all, it has a dedication to generating business that, I believe, is unparalleled across the industry,” he concluded.
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