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IMEX in Frankfurt starts strong

IMEX Frankfurt, the efficient, one-stop-shop for planners looking to book and organize worldwide meetings, events and incentive travel programs, announced its continued growth at this year’s show. The biggest education program to date, new stands, stand increases from existing exhibitors and the scale and diversity of the hosted buyer program are the highlights of this year’s exhibition.

This year’s show held 64 new stands joining the lineup of 3,564 exhibit companies on the show floor with a third of previous exhibitors increasing in stand size from 2013. Growth from various regions of the world gave testimony to the meetings and events industry’s growing appetite for the appointment-driven tradeshow, with an 11 percent increase in space taken by Asia Pacific exhibitors, 5 percent increase from Latin America, an 8 percent increase from the U.S. and 3 percent from Europe. Strategic partners, the GCB German Convention Bureau, hosted over 230 exhibitors on the show’s single largest stand, F100.

Rising numbers continuing a trend seen over the past few years, the cruise sector grew this year with three new stands joining the line-up of cruise companies enthusiastic to maximize their share of the meetings, events and incentive travel market. A rise of over 20 percent in technology exhibitors is similarly demonstrated in the continuing growth of technology advisors, suppliers and product innovators. Other sectors with a larger number of exhibitors at this year’s show included airlines, car rental companies, catering services, entertainment services, conference venues and hotel resorts specializing in golf, gaming or skiing.

Adding to the number of hosted buyers expected at the show are 20 new hosted buyer groups, the majority of which represent long-haul markets. New services have also been added to aid buyers in making the best use of their exhibitor appointments and business meetings at the show. Taking the rising numbers into account, a spacious new lounge for hosted buyers was constructed with double the seating capacity of previous years and features a new concierge desk, information counters, diary and boarding pass printing, mobile phone recharging plus an interactive floor plan and new food outlet. Changes made room for more buyers in the halls and allowed the thousands of attendees to use their time more efficiently and comfortably.

Over 300 association meeting planners from the annual IMEX Association Day were among the hosted buyers taking part in important preshow events, and staying on at the show over the next few days. Over 80 senior executives and meetings buyers from the corporate sector also took part in the show’s latest niche education and networking event, Exclusively Corporate @IMEX. The corporate buyers represented 20 industry sectors and 21 countries. Together this influential group brought a joint annual meetings and events buying power of $180 million to the show.

Increasing in scope and size was the IMEX professional education program in order to aid the industry’s demand for professional growth while accommodating the needs of rising numbers attending the show. With over 200 workshops, seminars and campfires delivered by 132 speakers and industry experts increased this year’s program by 25 percent.

The GCB’s German language Seminartage program will continue to offer German language education every day, including morning keynotes by high profile speakers. The program is also delivered in the same eight-track format as the show’s English sessions.

‘Future Trends Clinic’ is another educational program offered, run by Veranstaltungsplaner, a leading association of German event planners, plus guided ‘IMEX Tours’, organized by MICE Club. The tours gave small groups of German visitors a short education session based on a theme from the recent GCB ‘Megatrends Report’ and continued with a guided tour of exhibitors and IMEX stands on the same theme.

Signaling further strength in the authority of IMEX and its Politicians Forum was the presence of two leaders from the world’s leading leisure travel bodies, Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the United Nations Specialised Agency for tourism and David Scowsill, president and chief executive officer of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). Their attendance at the Forum, and at the show, represent an important milestone for the IMEX Group, which has consistently encouraged larger and more open dialogue between the leisure and meetings, events and incentive travel sectors since its launch in 2002.

For more information, visit imex-frankfurt.com.

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