15th edition of IMEX focuses on creating business opportunities and making powerful connections

| May 16, 2017

“At IMEX our aim is to help the industry make valuable connections and build powerful working relationships. With 3,500 companies exhibiting from over 150 countries, and a packed schedule of education and social events, there are plenty of opportunities to make fresh connections and to do a lot of business over the next three days.”

Ray Bloom, Chairman of the IMEX Group, captured the essence of why the meetings industry has come together at IMEX in Frankfurt this week when he spoke at the show’s opening ceremony.

At the opening of the 15th IMEX in Frankfurt, Ray Bloom also observed that “IMEX always provides revealing insights into the industry’s prevailing mood – and that resilience and forward-looking attitude is clearly evident here this week, with growth from both new and existing exhibitors adding up to the largest ever IMEX.”

The new exhibitors boosting the opportunities for buyers to make new business connections include Moldova Tourism, Meet Puerto Rico, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kyoto Convention Bureau, Jeju Province, and many new technology suppliers.

Helping to create the largest ever show, exhibitors who have chosen to take more space include Tourism New Zealand, Shanghai, Korea, London & Partners, Spain, Rocco Forte Hotels, Guatemala, Panama, Uruguay and NYC.

More education than ever before

Not only does this year’s IMEX in Frankfurt offer more opportunities to do business, it also has more education sessions than ever before, with over 250 to match every need.

This year’s major innovation was EduMonday, a full day of learning opportunities in both English and German providing insights into event design, future trends and hot new technologies. Experts from the new Zeus Eventtech Academy, the German Convention Bureau (GCB), Meetology®, Play with a Purpose and the Event Design Collective were among many contributors. With Exclusively Corporate, Association Day and the PCMA Business School also taking place yesterday, there were more people than ever before from all sides of the industry increasing their knowledge and skills at IMEX on EduMonday.

The PCMA Business School, hosted by Congress Center Messe Frankfurt, featured business coach and educator Tremaine du Preez leading a workshop on ‘How to Make Better Decisions’. At Exclusively Corporate, a large group of corporate event planners enjoyed a new programme streamed to meet their needs, while more than 300 association professionals from around the world took part in Association Day and networking at Association Evening before going to the exhibition.

The education continues throughout the show at the Inspiration Hub on the show floor, with experts exploring ten different tracks. CMP/CEU and ILEA credits can also be accrued at more than 70 per cent of sessions.

This year a ‘talking point’, Purposeful Meetings, is running throughout the show and the whole year. As part of the education programme, Janet Sperstad of Madison College, USA will be delivering a keynote on Wednesday and will reveal the initial findings of a major piece of events industry research.

There is also more time for buyers to meet exhibitors and attend networking or educational events now that the show closes later at 6pm on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Inspiring keynote speaker Greg Clark

The keynote speaker at the Opening Ceremony was Professor Greg Clark, CBE, a world renowned Global Advisor on Cities and Business who has been increasingly appreciating the value of the meetings industry as he advises over 100 cities around the world about planning for the future.

Professor Greg Clark, CBE

In a powerful thought-provoking speech he described the meetings from his observations as “growing, sophisticated and substantial, offering broad and deep benefits, a big new globalising industry of our time that should be closely aligned to cities.” He later said that the industry should be a “critical partner to any city” and that “not taking the industry seriously has a substantial cost for cities.”

The packed audience included 27 government representatives from around the world who were about to attend the annual IMEX Politicians Forum. Each year the Forum brings together politicians and policy makers with global meetings industry leaders to share ideas about the contribution that the industry makes to national and regional economic development.

Ray Bloom observed “Over the last 15 years we have seen the debate move forward from showing that the industry can contribute to debating how to maximise its contribution.”

Be Well at IMEX, which is supported by Weichlein Tours + Incentives, Inner Sense and Munich Convention Bureau, helps those at the show to stay healthy and stress-free. The Be Well Lounge, yoga and meditation sessions and new White Space area all offer places to relax while the annual 5km #IMEXrun, developed by events by tlc, along the river Main early on Wednesday, is an opportunity for exercise and sweat-working.

A new IMEX sustainability initiative this year is Waste Watcher. Partnering with local organisation ShoutOutLoud, the IMEX team is reducing waste by providing new opportunities for everyone to re-use and recycle an extensive range of food and materials. IMEX is also saving 2.7 tons of paper by no longer producing a printed Show Catalogue.

Over the four days of IMEX there are over 200 networking events and meetings including Site NITE Europe, CIM-Clubbing and the IMEX Gala Dinner, all creating a wide range of opportunities to make new – and to renew – connections.

Ray Bloom concludes; “Our continued innovation and enhancements throughout the show have all been focused on creating the best ever experience for everyone here this week. With so many opportunities to do business, to learn or to meet, the prospects for a successful week are tremendous. I look forward to seeing our new company motto, ‘We Are All Connected’, brought to life.”


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