AMERICAS - On the first day of Reed Travel Exhibition's (RTE) second and final edition of AIBTM in Baltimore, IBTM Portfolio Director Craig Moyes tells CMW the show has grown five per cent in terms of square metres taken by exhibitors, with main stand holders up from 183 in 2011 to 194 this year.
RTE also claims a five per cent increase in pre-show hosted buyer registrations accepted for 2012, making a total of 777.
RTE reveals that 83 per cent of the hosted buyers are domestic US based.
CMW asked Moyes why the decision, announced last week, had been taken to move the show to Chicago for 2013.
"We felt we wanted to move to access new markets and new experiences," he said, admitting that Baltimore would likely be "disappointed" to lose the show. Moyes stressed that the relationship with the Baltimore Convention Bureau, which had invested heavily in the project, remained "good", but added that the decision to move had been taken at advisory board level, with a new Request For Proposal going out to half a dozen destinations Stateside.
To the premise that RTE had chosen Baltimore because of proximity to the East Coast buyers' community, Moyes noted that Chicago also had a huge commercial culture and the target buyer community was "everywhere". "Moreover," said Moyes, "the US meetings community likes the concept of rotation, with many association meetings rotating around the country".
Moyes said he had been particularly pleased with AIBTM's Education Day. "Education is a prime mover of attendance and we have worked hard with the PCMA association, in particular, to deliver the programme," he said.
AIBTM 2012 runs at the Baltimore Convention Center until 21 June.
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