IMEX America 2020 cancelled due to Covid-19

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Carina Bauer and Ray Bloom Carina Bauer and Ray Bloom

IMEX America 2020 has been cancelled due to Covid-19.

Organisers have confirmed that the show, due to take place in Las Vegas on 15-17 September, will no longer go ahead.

In an official statement, IMEX Group CEO Carina Bauer and chairman Ray Bloom said: "It is with great regret and disappointment that we are announcing that we have made the difficult decision to cancel IMEX America 2020, due to take place at the Sands Expo, Las Vegas from September 15-17.

"Our industry has been impacted heavily by the global lockdowns and travel restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and we know how many of you were looking forward to coming together again in Las Vegas this fall. We’re acutely aware that since lockdown began, IMEX America 2020 has come to represent a beacon of hope for the entire business events community. We assure you, no-one is more disappointed than the IMEX team that we can’t fulfil that expectation."

Bloom and Bauer said that they had to be realistic about the current reality and outlined the three main reasons why they took the decision to cancel IMEX America 2020.

"First and foremost is our responsibility to our exhibitors to deliver a return on the investment they make in the show. We do this through our guarantee of delivering a high quality, large-scale hosted buyer program. With corporate travel bans still in place and uncertainty over continued global travel restrictions, we’re sadly in no position to offer that guarantee.

"Second is the issue of timings. As industry professionals you know that a show of the scale of IMEX America doesn’t happen overnight. Our industry supply chain and the investments that our exhibitors make in the show start now. It’s therefore important that we make this decision at a time when we’re still able to reduce the risk and exposure for our exhibitors, partners and suppliers.

"Finally, IMEX America is a truly global show, with over a third of the 13,000+ industry professionals attending from outside North America. Global travel restrictions and uncertainties around when they might be lifted make it impossible for a large proportion of our exhibitors, buyers and key industry professionals to commit to attending. And, whilst the global events industry is proudly distinct from the travel and tourism sector, nothing has demonstrated our interlinked fortunes and dependencies more keenly than the current crisis.

"It is for these reasons that we’ve taken the difficult decision to cancel IMEX America for 2020. Our team has spent the past few weeks in constant contact with our exhibitors, partners and suppliers and we’ve been overwhelmed by, and so grateful for, the support we’ve received."

The statement added that IMEX Group will continue to work on virtual platform Planet IMEX and the industry can expect to see plenty of activity online during September and beyond.

"We know that nothing we do online can make up for the loss of meeting, celebrating and doing business together face to face in Las Vegas at what would have been the 10th anniversary of IMEX America. We’ll miss shaking your hands, giving our industry friends a well-earned hug and looking you in the eye with a warm smile. However, true to the spirit of IMEX and our heartfelt commitment to the industry we love, we’ll do our very best to deliver our customary high-quality content, business connections plus a dash of fun through our online experience until we can all meet again."

Bauer and Bloom confirmed that IMEX in Frankfurt and IMEX America 2021 are still set to go ahead and that the IMEX team is already busy planning for next year's event.

"We believe strongly in the resilience, flexibility and creativity of our industry," they said. "We’re optimistic that meeting face to face will play an important role in helping our economies and all the industries we serve to regenerate and recover. We’re certain that globally there’s a great deal of pent-up demand to come together for both business and for pleasure, once it is safe to do so.

"We WILL meet again and, like you, we can’t wait for that moment to come."

James Rees, president and Senthil Gopinath, CEO of ICCA issued a statement of support that said: "Our whole industry will be disappointed to hear this news, however in the circumstances it is understandably the right decision and gives all of us as stakeholders a good period of notice to change plans that had been made. The whole ICCA community stands together with Ray, Carina and the IMEX Team and we look forward to supporting both IMEX in Frankfurt and IMEX America in 2021 when we will meet again to build the trusted business relationships which lay at the foundation of every IMEX event."

Paul Van Deventer, president and CEO of MPI, said: "For the past three months, the meetings and live events industry have been inordinately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the cancellation of IMEX America by our strategic partners and friends at the IMEX Group being the latest significant blow. Our hearts go out to the entire IMEX family. We appreciate and understand how tough a decision this was to make and know fully that IMEX will be at the forefront of our industry’s recovery, because alongside them, we are all smarter and stronger together."

Paul Harvey
Written By
Paul Harvey
M&IT editor Paul Harvey is a journalist with more than 15 years of experience. He began his career in the local press, working for various titles across the north. Since joining M&IT in 2013, he has become a trusted and respected voice in the sector, championing event professionals and reporting on all aspects of the events industry for the brand.

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