IMEX Group chairman welcomed visitors this week to the largest IMEX ever in Frankfurt, and said the 2018 show, which runs until 17 May, would be highlighting innovations, experiences and resilience – all factors driving continuing business growth in the industry.
At the opening ceremony of the 16th Frankfurt show, 14 May, Bloom said: “This is our largest ever IMEX. It has around 3,500 exhibitors representing well over 150 countries.”
Bloom added that the 2018 show had brought in 40 new stands from all continents including the Russian Convention Bureau, the Uganda Ministry of Tourism, Ras Al Khaimah, Azerbaijan, the Lebanon Ministry of Tourism and Leading Hotels of the World.
The technology area is beefed up with more new exhibitors including Bravura Technologies on the Tech Pavilion and Event Tech Tribe and a new Tech Café offering product demos and presentations.
Many of the innovative initiatives are in Hall 9 this year, separate to the main show floor. The Inspiration Hub is home to the show’s 250 plus education sessions, a new Live Zone showcasing experiential acts and a Co-Working campus by Zeus EventTech – the association of event tech start-ups.
The ‘SkyLab’ offers the chance to experience a meeting in mid-air and in the ‘Dark Lab’, where educational sessions are run in total darkness. These Learning Labs have been brought to the show by C2 International.
Ray Bloom said: “We’re delighted to have formed a new three-year partnership with C2 International, the ground-breaking experts in innovative business conferences, as part of our commitment to driving innovation and creativity in the meetings and events sector.”
Gloria Guevara Manzo, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) delivered a keynote at the opening ceremony, noting that growth prospects for the travel and tourism sector worldwide were good with a golden age ahead. However, she said, in order to fulfil this potential the industry faced three challenges; that the growth must be sustainable; that the industry had to improve the way it handled crises, both man-made and natural; and security. In addressing these challenges Guevara, a former minister of tourism for Mexico, highlighted the importance of partnerships between private and public organisations and the opportunity for the greater use of biometrics for safety and efficiency.
Guevara was also due to address around 30 politicians as well as many industry leaders at the annual IMEX Policy Forum.
Bloom added: “The Policy Forum has been a crucial catalyst in improving understanding among governments of how this industry can make a significant contribution to economic development.”
Also at the opening ceremony were Wolfgang Marzin, president and CEO of Messe Frankfurt and Matthias Schultze, MD of the German Convention Bureau.
Yesterday was the second EduMonday which delivered a full conference programme in addition to new events for specific interest groups including Rising Talent for young professionals, an Agency Directors Forum and She Means Business.
The 100+ corporate event planners at Exclusively Corporate heard keynotes by Amy Brown, head of creative strategy at Google; Rena Lindell, head of sponsorships at LinkedIn; Amanda Whitlock, EY’s director of global strategic events and Martin Enault, chief operating officer of C2.
IMEX this year has produced a Sustainable Exhibiting Guide, with a new focus on reducing the use of plastics by, for instance, providing water refill stations and encouraging everyone to refill reusable water bottles.