Wild cards on the table at IMEX

Last year’s exhibition

Three destinations that have never before exhibited at an international trade show are celebrating a significant win in the IMEX 2010 Wild Card programme.

As a result, Uganda, the new Hof Conference and Cultural Centre in Iceland and the traditional alpine village of Morzine, France, will each line up, free of charge, on the IMEX Wild Card Pavilion at Messe Frankfurt when the eighth IMEX gets underway on May 25.

The Wild Card programme is part of IMEX’s commitment to fostering growth and development in the global meetings industry.

It recognises how difficult it can be for newer destinations to break into the international meetings market, even though they may be already well-established as leisure tourism destinations.

IMEX group chairman, Ray Bloom, explained: “Many newer destinations have good travel and hospitality infrastructures in place and have already proven their success in the leisure market. The Wild Card programme, however, offers them the ideal platform for focusing their marketing efforts on the meetings and conventions industry.

“It’s a low-risk, extremely high-value opportunity and one that puts them in front of thousands of high-quality international buyers whilst lending unparalleled credibility and a global profile.”

Each of this year’s winners will receive a package including free exhibition space, access to discounted flights and free accommodation in Frankfurt. The winners also receive ongoing marketing guidance and support from the IMEX project team all year round.

One of the winners, Morzine in France (nominated by ski company Chillypowder), has dedicated conference and meetings facilities opening at the Hotel au Coin du Feu in May, which will launched in time to take full advantage of IMEX 2010. Morzine offers fine dining, shopping and a wide range of outdoor pursuits. The town is one-and-a-half hours from Geneva Airport and within driving distance of Switzerland and Italy. The hotel offers 19 luxury bedrooms, underground car-parking and a large outdoor terrace. Chillypowder operates luxury catered ski chalets.

By contrast, Great Lakes Safaris of Uganda in East Africa, feels confident about its entry into the meetings market as a result of recent improvements to flight schedules and roads in the region.

Business and communication facilities are also being expanded in Uganda. The company provides tailor-made safaris including gorilla-tracking, primate walks and a variety of other wildlife-watching experiences.

The final winner, the new Hof Conference and Cultural Centre in Northern Iceland, is set to open in August.