Biggest ever IMEX in Frankfurt highlights innovation and growth

This year’s IMEX in Frankfurt is set to highlight how inspiring innovations, energising experiences and solid resilience are driving continuing business growth in the industry.

At today’s opening ceremony of the 16th Frankfurt show which continues until 17 May, Ray Bloom, chairman of the IMEX Group said: “This is our largest ever IMEX. It has around 3,500 exhibitors representing well over 150 countries, offering plenty of opportunities to do business, learn more about the latest developments and trends, and to make many new contacts in all sectors of the industry worldwide.”

The show floor boasts more than 40 new stands this year, 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, while the technology area has more new exhibitors including Bravura Technologies on the Tech Pavilion and Event Tech Tribe and a new Tech Café offering product demos and presentations. 

The 50 plus exhibitors – a quarter of those returning – who have invested in larger stands include Choose Chicago, Brand USA, the Mexico Tourism Board, and Visit Britain.

Many of the eye-catching and innovative new initiatives are in Hall 9 separate to the show floor. There, a learning zone has been created with the Inspiration Hub, 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 most sensational innovations are the ‘SkyLab’, 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 delivers opening keynote

The keynote speaker at this morning’s Opening Ceremony was Gloria Guevara (Manzo), president and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

Manzo will also address around 30 politicians as well as many industry leaders at the annual IMEX Policy Forum.  This year, ‘The Legacy of Positive Policy Making’ will be its theme, with globalisation, legacy and resilience among the key issues discussed. Professor Greg Clark will also lead a workshop on the evolution of cities in the meetings industry.

Ray Bloom said: “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.”

The second EduMonday 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.

Rising Talent drew a capacity audience of under 35s to hear advice on career development and progress from experts and peers. The Agency Directors Forum brought together senior leaders in small and mid-size agencies giving them the chance to exchange strategic thinking while She Means Business- in partnership with tw magazine- celebrated women in the industry.

The 100 plus 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; while the new programme at Association Day, hosted at the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel, had been structured into three streams following extensive market research. The latest PCMA Business School was led by Adam Kingl of the London Business School who explained how to use the principles of strategic innovation to disrupt existing business models.

Bloom added: “Seeing all the exciting new initiatives, new educational and experiential activities and the many new and existing exhibitors, IMEX 2018 has something to offer everyone – spectacular new ideas and superb opportunities to do business, learn and make connections. We are looking forward to a successful week in Frankfurt.”