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IMEX releases strongest results yet and announces six year high

IMEX releases strongest results yet and announces six year high ( IMEX 2008 produced particularly strong results for its sixth exhibition at Messe Frankfurt this year, as evidenced by final figures released by organisers, Regent Exhibitions, today.

The total buyer increase was 5.3 per cent against the previous year with hosted buyer and trade visitor numbers up to 8,751 (2007: 8,310). Much of this increase was attributed to a higher number of hosted buyers attending from markets outside of Western Europe; plus a 10.5 per cent increase in the number of German trade visitors attending.

The rise in German visitor numbers is largely the result of a highly targeted and extensive marketing campaign conducted with strategic partners, The German Convention Bureau. The campaign targeted German meetings industry buyers as well as those secondary audiences that are becoming increasingly influential within the German meetings market, namely brand and event managers and business travel managers. Aside from the USA, the German outbound market is the second largest in the world and IMEX is strongly committed to increasing its penetration of this market year on year for the benefit of exhibitors. 

IMEX also succeeded in fulfilling its objective to secure a larger number of association meetings buyers. As Ray Bloom reminded his audience at the show’s closing press conference, “Many of the world’s congress centres do not do a great deal of business with corporate buyers. Their sole focus is the large association meetings so it is important that we deliver these buyers to the show, in addition to all the other groups we attract." As a proportion of total hosted buyers at IMEX, association buyer numbers rose to 12.5 per cent, up from 11 per cent last year. A record 270 buyers from 30 world markets also attended the IMEX Association Day on 21st April. 

IMEX’s commitment to deliver more hosted buyers from long-haul markets was also restated on the last day of the award-winning trade show. “We have, in fact, more than tripled the number of long-haul buyers attending in just two years and will maintain that momentum with further expansion in the next 12 months," explained Bloom. Hosted buyers this year travelled from all the major Western European destinations, as well as markets such as China, India, Japan, Brazil, UAE, South Africa and the USA.
Big rise in prearranged appointments
Improvements to its online diary system also led to a surge in pre-organised appointments by hosted buyers this year. IMEX buyers are free to organise their own one-to-one appointments with exhibitors of their choice. More than 40,000 appointments were made online in the six weeks prior to IMEX, of which 30,000 were made by individuals, with the remaining 10,000 representing the successful group appointment system run by the IMEX organisers. This represents an increase in prearranged appointments since 2007 of more than 30%. In addition, the pharmaceutical sector dominated in terms of businesses represented at IMEX 2008, followed by financial and banking buyers and the electronics, telecoms and IT sector.  

IMEX 2008 was also marked by a strong lead on a number of influential and topical industry issues. The Messe Frankfurt trade show was the greenest yet with innovations such as the use of hydroelectric power, recyclable plastic badges, the use of bio-diesel fuels and anti-idling policies on shuttle buses as well as strict policies on food, paper and waste recycling. Next year all exhibitors will have the option of using green energy for their power supply during the exhibition.

In addition, IMEX consolidated its environmental lead with a number of green industry awards. New for 2008 was the Green Supplier Award, which was won by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. In addition, Norgene Pharmaceuticals (working with WorldEvents) walked away with the popular Commitment to the Community Award which recognises the growing importance of CSR (corporate social responsibility) within the global meetings industry. 

This year’s Politician’s Forum also welcomed the highest number yet of senior politicians from Canada, Australia and South Africa in particular. As a result, the day’s debates were wide-ranging and well-informed. A full report on its findings is due to be issued within three months. 

The IMEX-MPI Future Leaders Forum (FLF) again demonstrated its growing reputation as a source of talented future recruits for many of the industry’s leading international organisations.  This year’s programme extended over two days and welcomed 160 students from Germany and across Europe. There are now eight different FLFs taking place annually around the world with plans to add more over the next year. 

Gilian Taylor, Business Tourism, MICE Manager, Product Development, Abu Dhabi, UAE commented on this year’s IMEX, “We always expect IMEX to deliver and this year’s event did not disappoint. We had a really good selection of both group and individual appointments. As an emerging destination IMEX is essential to us."

Another exhibitor, Francine Sheridan, Director, Europe of The Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau added, "We were very pleased with the quality and level of buyers. We saw key decision makers here who were all looking for 4-5 star deluxe."

A further sign of IMEX’s long-term strength is that future dates have now been confirmed through to 2013.

IMEX 2009 will take place on 26th – 29th May. For further information see
-         ENDS
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+For further detail on IMEX 2008 statistics please see:
Editors Notes:
+ IMEX 2009 will take place from 26 – 28 May in Hall 8, Messe Frankfurt.
+ Over 3,600 hosted buyers from almost 60 world markets attended IMEX 2008, amongst an overall trade visitor total of 8,751. Further statistics are available on the IMEX website.
+ 3,500 companies representing 150 countries exhibited at IMEX 2008
+ A virtual exhibition continues online throughout the year at 
+ An extensive library of IMEX research and industry research can be downloaded from
+ Awards IMEX has won:
- 2006 AEO (Association of Exhibition Organisers) award for ‘Best Trade Show’
- 2005 AEO (Association of Exhibition Organisers) award for ‘Best Visitor Experience at a Trade Show.

Media Contacts:- Kit Watts, IMEX PR and Marketing Team +44 (0) 1273 773002 Email:

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