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IMEX 2007: 5 years on - A landmark year for award-winning IMEX

( With the opening of IMEX 2007 today the stage is set for an anticipated 7,500-plus visitors including 3,500 hosted buyers to maximise business, networking and education opportunities at one of the most influential events in the meetings industry’s annual calendar.

In the last five years, IMEX, whose permanent home is now Messe Frankfurt’s Hall 8, has become an award-winning global exhibition with a reputation for innovation, high level business opportunities, environmental responsibility and technological edge.

At today’s opening ceremony, Roger Dow, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) paid this tribute. “IMEX has become increasingly influential in the global meetings market. Given that industry sentiment in the US is more buoyant and optimistic than it has been for several years, I am delighted to come to Frankfurt and spread a positive message about the potential business opportunities represented by the US travel market,” he said.

One of the highlights of this year’s show is an expanded hosted buyer programme with significant numbers arriving from North America, Asia, South America and South Africa. This follows a concerted effort by organisers, Regent Exhibitions, to broaden its international intermediary network in recognition of the power and appeal of these long-haul markets. This was underpinned by support from IMEX’s official airline, Lufthansa, who now offer hosted buyers up to 85 gateways worldwide, plus airline groups – the Star Alliance and SkyTeam –as well as Air Tahiti Nui, American Airlines, United Airlines, Iceland Air and Swiss.

Exhibitors demand more space
Exhibitor demand has also continued to grow significantly over the past year. More than 40 previous exhibitors have increased their stand space compared with 2006. Destinations as diverse as Argentina, Barbados, Costa Rica, Egypt, Germany, Macau, Mexico, Morocco, Paris, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Taipei, Tourism Australia and Visit London are amongst those who have increased their presence at IMEX 2007. Representation from hotel groups is also especially strong with Wyndham Hotels, Grand Hotel Excelsior, Valentin Hotels, Premier Hotels, Hotel Esperanto Kongress und Kulturzentrum Fulda, Vienna International Hotels and Virgin Limited Edition all amongst the first-time exhibitors, joining the more than 30 international hotel groups represented at the exhibition. In addition, long-standing exhibitors Marriott Hotels & Resorts and Fairmont Hotels have both increased their presence this year.

Notable first-time exhibitors for 2007 include the Cayman Islands, Deutsche Messe, Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre, Hyundai Motor Deutschland, Hogg Robinson, Montenegro, Passeport Chine, Starcite, Maui Jim and Zimbabwe. The Canary Islands and Marketing Birmingham are both taking their own stands at IMEX for the first time. This is in addition to the new IMEX Wild Card destinations who are being introduced to the meetings industry for the first time at IMEX. They include Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; the Cape Verde Islands; Mures County, Transylvania and Western Siberia.

Professional Education tops the agenda
IMEX has also responded to increasing demand for high quality professional education and networking opportunities by enlarging its seminar and workshop programme for 2007. Thanks to the influence and commitment of IMEX strategic partner, the German Convention Bureau, the number of German-language seminars focused on the needs of the German corporate, business travel and agency buyer, have doubled. This increased educational initiative forms an important part of IMEX’s increased drive to attract thousands of buyers from the German outbound market to IMEX 2007.

The IMEX New Vision programme continues to grow and attract critical acclaim. The IMEX – MPI sponsored Future Leaders’ Forum is now firmly established as a valuable ‘fast-track’ ticket to a career in the meetings industry. In turn, the Politicians’ Forum has developed a reputation for providing vital insight for local politicians into the value of the meetings industry, while IMEX’s multicultural partnership with Richard Lewis Communications has enabled the CultureActive© Tool to be made available to all IMEX hosted buyers, Future Leaders and MPI (Meeting Professional International) members worldwide.

The IMEX Corporate Responsibility Centre which is organised in partnership with the Green Meetings Industry Council and incorporates the Green Awards; highlights IMEX’s commitment to promoting environmentally-responsible behaviour within the global meetings industry. This year the stand has been made by last year’s Green Exhibitor Award winner, Expoforce, using environmentally friendly materials. A further commitment to professional education is demonstrated by the Professional Development Pavilion, sponsored by the Convention Industry Council, which showcases courses and information from many of the world’s leading training providers; as well as a series of 9 short ‘insight’ workshops.

The IMEX Tech Tap, organised by technology partner The Meeting Support Institute, also comes of age in 2007 with 11 exhibitors, the largest number to date. This participation demonstrates the increasing strength, simplicity and availability of meetings technologies. IMEX visitors and exhibitors will also be able to enjoy the benefits of such technologies with the IMEX Exhibition Assistant – IMEX On Your Phone. This convenient service allows instant, handheld access to exhibitor listings, IMEX facility and shuttle bus information and personal appointment diaries. New for this year is the ability to order seminar presentations, exhibitor brochures, see highlights from the Daily Paper and view the IMEX photo gallery.

Commenting on the growth and scope of IMEX this year, Ray Bloom, Chairman, says “Every year we try to build on last year’s achievements - it is part of our commitment to continuous improvement. For 2007 this has meant a sharp focus on long-haul buyers and enlarging our intermediary network; plus investment in our promotions focussed towards the German outbound buyer market. We also take the issue of technology very seriously and believe that using proven technologies intelligently provides all our participants with a vital advantage that helps them maximise their time, resources and, of course, the plentiful business opportunities that IMEX generates.”

Media Contacts:
- Carina Bauer, Tel +44 (0) 1273 227311
- Kit Watts, Mob (0)7968 417518

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