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A combination of new exhibitor sales and an overwhelming number of returning 2011 exhibitors has kept the AIBTM sales team busy. AIBTM’s show floor is already more than 60 percent sold, nine months out from June.

Returning in 2012 and doubling their booth space are Destination DC, Dominican Republic Tourism Board, Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau, Panama Tourism Authority, Vantage Hospitality, Atlanta Convention Bureau, Anaheim Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau and the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau. On top of this, Vancouver Hotel Destination Association, Boston Convention Bureau, Nassau Paradise Island and the Guatemala Tourist Board have all increased by 50 percent.

“We confirmed our participation for 2012 at the conclusion of the 2011 show. Based on the quantity and quality of the appointments we simply felt we needed more space,” said John Cychol FCDME, CTA, vice president of meeting sales, Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Hilton Worldwide, Marriott International, Sol Melia and Choice Hotels are all returning with bigger space and will be joined for the first time by Carlson Hotels.

“Carlson Hotels and Rezidor have supported EIBTM for several years, exhibiting and bringing hundreds of hosted buyers to Barcelona,” said Kaaren Hamilton, CMP, vice president, Global Sales, Carlson Hotels. “As AIBTM establishes itself in North America, Carlson and Rezidor are supporting as they recognize the valuable connections made at this show. As a hotel company, the MICE segment is a priority focus across our brands and we acknowledge that this show is the premier meeting place for our clients.”

Across the board hotels, international destinations and US CVBs are signing up to be part of AIBTM 2012. Other new exhibitors include Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, Moroccan National Tourist Office, Palm Springs Desert Resorts Convention & Visitors Authority, and Visit Pittsburgh.

“The Palm Springs Desert Resorts CVA reached out to other CVBs throughout the country to get a ‘gauge’ regarding feedback for the first AIBTM program in June 2011,” said Robert R. Osterberg, CMP, director of Convention Sales & Services. “Overwhelmingly, the response was positive, therefore we felt that for our partner hotels and community we needed to commit to the 2012 program.”

In addition to the larger show floor, Hosted Buyers for 2012 will be offered the opportunity to attend AIBTM for three nights. This new offering will allow all of them to participate in the full three-day program. AIBTM opens with AIBTM Education day on June 19 with new dedicated Association and Corporate programs and is followed by the AIBTM Exhibition on June 20 and June 21, providing two days for one-to-one meetings and networking. Many Hosted Buyers will also be invited to extend their stay for the new Post Event Tours available exclusively to qualified Hosted Buyers.

As a direct result of the successful program run in 2011 and the additional offerings for 2012, more Hosted Buyer Group Coordinators within the U.S. are requesting to work alongside AIBTM to support the registration process which will start in late January 2012.

“We are well ahead of ourselves already this year. The increase in booths from so many exhibitors who took part in the inaugural AIBTM proves the thirst for continuing the business that was traded on the show floor,” said Steve Knight, AIBTM project director.

“Because of the success of the Professional Education Program feedback showed that Hosted Buyers wanted to be given the choice to attend the day before the show opened. So for 2012 we will be increasing their flexibility to do so by providing a third night option in Baltimore.”

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