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Mid year marks high point for IMEX

Mid year marks high point for IMEX ( With five months to go before its 2008 Frankfurt show, award-winning global meetings and incentive travel exhibition, IMEX, has announced its largest ever exhibitor line-up. The trade show’s hallmark hosted buyer programme is also set for a sizeable increase. This achievement is due to a significant number of new long-haul groups, and also a rise in the number of European groups attending.

Efforts to both consolidate and expand its reach into the German market will also be boosted by an extensive German visitor marketing campaign. The new initiative, which has been carefully co-ordinated together with IMEX strategic partners the GCB (German Convention Bureau), will target 50% more potential buyers throughout Germany.

Other 2008 highlights include a rise in the number of US exhibitors, who will be located in a centralised and dedicated US quarter. An increase in US representation overall lends weight to the findings of a recent IMEX North American Outlook Survey (August 2007). Results showed that nearly 50% of respondents expected to organise a higher number of international events in the coming year (2006: 27%) and a higher proportion of these events were expected to be larger in scale than before. IMEX’s growing links with US associations, including DMAI (Destination Marketing Association International), PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association) and ASAE (American Society of Association Executives), are also now bringing the trade show to the attention of a wider US audience.

Other new developments include the expansion of the IMEX Corporate Buyer Programme. Launched earlier this year, the programme initially targeted UK corporate meeting planners. However, demand from other world markets has led to IMEX opening the programme up to an international corporate audience for 2008.

For the coming show, IMEX is also consolidating its commitment to environmental best-practice by encouraging visitors and hosted buyers to choose ‘greener’ travel options where possible. Participants from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland will be able to take advantage of substantial rail discounts with Deutsch Bahn direct to Frankfurt city centre. Hosted buyers living on the continent are also being encouraged to choose high-speed rail options.

Exhibitor growth
Demand for more space from existing exhibitors remains strong for 2008. Morgans Hotel Group, Kuoni and Steigenberger Hotels have all more than doubled their stand sizes as a result of positive feedback and strong business leads generated at last year’s show; whilst the Canaries, Argentina, Malta, Australia, Spain, Singapore and the Czech Republic are all making sizeable increases.

Among the exhibitors appearing at the Messe Frankfurt exhibition for the first time are Capella Hotels&Resorts; Chicago Convention&Tourism Bureau; Protur Hotels; GHM Hotels; Prestige Hotels of the World and Indonesia. Las Vegas, Texas Tourism, Atlanta Convention&Visitors Bureau and the Wedgewood Group will make a welcome return to IMEX.

Long-haul representation up for 2008
The hosted buyer programme will also expand for 2008, with growth from both long-haul and European groups. Middle Eastern representation will be expanded thanks to new groups from: Al Rostamani/Hilton, Dubai; Moevenpick Hotels, Saudi Arabia; Nicholas Publishing International and Bahrain Financial Services. Other new and strategically important groups include: Wedgewood Travel; Swiss Thailand; Lufthansa Rostov, Russia; Kuoni Destination Management and Convention Planit. New groups have also been confirmed from India, Australia, Mexico and Brazil.

HelmsBriscoe International will add to its already-established 60-strong international group with associates from its Canadian division for the first time. Both Visit London and ExCeL London will also introduce additional US buyers to IMEX as part of a campaign to leverage the 2008 co-location of the MPI European Meetings and Events Conference in London with IMEX two days later in Frankfurt.

Association Day
With Association Day building in strength and influence every year, IMEX and its organising partners, ICCA (International Congress&Convention Association), have launched several new marketing activities to attract additional buyers from across Europe and the US. Both ASAE and The Center for Association Leadership plus the AMC Institute have committed to bringing larger groups to the Day. MCI Germany will also be running concurrent German seminars while, for the first time, the GCB will run two German seminars tailored to the specific needs of German association professionals on the show’s opening day.

Opening up new German markets
Marketing to attract more German visitors to IMEX 2008 will be significantly expanded with a new programme aimed at reaching 50% more visitors and buyers than last year. In addition to targeting the core market of event planners, agencies, association and meeting industry professionals, a new campaign will be aimed at marketing managers and directors with responsibility for live marketing, events, product launches and incentive travel programmes. This development recognises the growing influence of and demand for live events as part of the communications mix.

An expanded German language seminar programme will also ensure that German visitors receive tailored and market-specific professional education.

IMEX continues to develop its programme of New Vision initiatives. Innovations for 2008 include 20-minute ‘speed mentoring’ sessions provided by coaching company, SHINE, in the Professional Development Pavilion. A programme of short, drop-in workshops will also be offered. As usual, popular sessions, such as the Cross-Cultural Skills, Women’s and Future Leaders Forums will aim to influence, educate and entertain on the key issues of the day.

Environmental ‘extras’
The IMEX Corporate Responsibility Centre, the green meetings seminar and the ‘Green Awards’ have increased in popularity as the meetings industry’s desire to improve environmental awareness has gathered pace.

The new IMEX Green Supplier Award has already attracted a strong line-up of entries. New and practical demonstrations of IMEX’s own environmental efforts will include environmentally friendly jute bags and Frankfurt walking maps. An anti-idling policy will be introduced on all IMEX buses together with new, stricter waste policies for stand constructors.

Looking ahead to the 2008 show, Ray Bloom, IMEX Chairman, comments, “The past 5 years have seen the meetings industry grow in size and strength. Increased demand from the US, new markets opening, increasing influence at a political and strategic level, more investment in infrastructure and a growing appreciation of the value of meeting face-to-face have all led to a consistently positive mood in our sector. IMEX has grown consistently since it’s inception in 2003 and IMEX 2008 will be no exception. With the number of buyers also increasing year-on-year we aim to deliver ever more business opportunities, at the same time as creating a dynamic and exciting environment for our industry to meet, play and do business."

Media Contacts: Carina Bauer Tel +44 (0) 1273 227311 Email: Kit Watts South PR +44 (0) 1273 773002 Email:

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