The global meetings and events industry is coming together in Las Vegas for the opening of IMEX America 2017 tomorrow (Tuesday October 10).
As well as uniting to discuss business, share ideas and renew friendships as it has done every year for seven years, this year it has come together with a spirit of unity in the face of many serious challenges that several communities are facing around the world, most recently in Las Vegas itself.
Ray Bloom, Chairman of the IMEX Group said; “During the months, even the week, leading up to IMEX America, it has been so very sad to see the devastation caused by natural disasters in the US, the Caribbean, Mexico and the tragic loss of life in one of our second homes, Las Vegas.
“At the same time, it has been inspiring to see the resilience of those communities and the supportive fellowship of the industry’s response to those whose regions and cities are now faced with rebuilding – both physically and emotionally.
“There is also a great willingness to contribute financially to help the victims of these tragedies and many people have asked us how best they can help. We’d like to encourage the industry to join us in contributing to the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund and to the American Red Cross.
“Our industry has rallied in extraordinary ways recently. It has an ability to come together with determination and resourcefulness unlike any other. Importantly it also has the power to pull destinations out of crisis; events and meetings are vital sources of regeneration, re-inspiration and renewal.”
As a mark of respect, there was a moment of silence observed by hundreds of members of the industry before the first MPI keynote this morning.
Largest ever IMEX America
With over 3,300 exhibitors from more than 150 countries and a major expansion of the Inspiration Hub – the center for education during the show, this year is the largest ever IMEX America, offering more opportunities than ever to do business and learn about the latest ideas and trends in the industry.
Energizing this expansion is a continuing demand for more space from new and existing exhibitors. This year 58 booths – 20 per cent of returning exhibitors – have booked larger spaces while there are also 500 new exhibiting companies and 64 new booths.
Africa and the Middle East have both grown significantly this year, (31 per cent), as a result of Abu Dhabi and Rwanda Convention Bureau exhibiting for the first time. Four new exhibitors including Viking Cruises and three expanded booths have resulted in the Cruise Lines area increasing by 28 per cent. The Technology area is 12 per cent larger mainly due to six new exhibitors including Groups360, PigeonLab Pte, Events Ready and Lead Interaction, and both new and larger booths have led to the USA/Canada and the hotel area of the show each growing by 8 per cent.
Among the other new exhibitors driving the overall growth are Memorable Costa Rica, Global Incentive DMC, Hanoi, the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau, Havana Strategies, Prince Hotels, and Moscow.
Those who have taken larger booths also include Hungary, Long Beach CVB, Panama, the Philippines, Visit England, Tommy Bahama, Evenium, 3D Cruise Partners, IHG, Marriott International and the Greek National Tourism Organization.
The determination to do business is already apparent in the very high number of one-to-one and group meetings that have been set up through the unique IMEX appointments system.
The power of live
Over 1,000 people are expected to attend Smart Monday (today), powered by MPI. The day opened with Janet Sperstad, the first of the daily MPI keynotes, revealing insights into Purposeful Meetings, this year’s IMEX talking point. These are now available within a newly published white paper that will be available in print at the show and to be downloaded from the IMEX America website from Thursday October 12.
As well as the extensive MPI program, the ever-growing Monday audience have come for the new Association Leadership Forum created by ASAE, the new Event Design Certificate course, the renowned PCMA Business School and the Executive Meeting Forum for senior corporate planners.
The “power of live experience” is a theme running through the show this week and it has come to life on Smart Monday at the new Live Zone. This is a brand new opportunity to sample interactive live event experiences including instant personalized song writing, the first Virtual Reality Photo Booth and “Sand Selfies”.
There is still time to experience these dynamic activities each day during the Lunchtime Live Zone, supported by Michael Cerbelli, which is located next to the Food Court and the Inspiration Hub (Hall G). The “live experience theme continues” in Thursday morning’s MPI keynote by Brent Bushnell, a master of interactive experiences and immersive entertainment.
This year’s Inspiration Hub, sponsored by Maritz Global Events, is making use of new inflatable domes for some seminars and workshops. The 10-track education program with 200 plus sessions (250 including Smart Monday) features topics to match every need and level of experience.
Also new is White Space, a place for attendees to chill out, take time to purposefully absorb their experience and to meet with speakers. Tuesday’s MPI keynote speaker Juliet Funt, CEO of WhiteSpace at Work, will be explaining this unique concept in detail. To look after the mind there are meditation sessions led by Lee Papa of Mindful Makeovers™ at the Be Well Lounge, sponsored by Hilton, and to care for the body there is the IMEXrun along the famous Las Vegas Strip on Wednesday (early) morning.
The industry will once again be making new contacts and catching up with friends at many co-located and other events throughout the week from the new Shamrock Shootout Golf Classic, Association Evening, MPI Foundation Rendezvous and SITE Nite North America to the EIC Hall of Leaders and Pacesetter Awards.
IMEX America continues to support the local Las Vegas community through activities such as Clean the World, the Badge-Back program and, new this year, Spread the Word Nevada by donating books to a local literacy scheme.
Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group says; “This week is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to demonstrate the practical application of that spirit of togetherness and unity by doing our what our industry does best; driving innovation, business integration and growth through meetings, events and incentive travel.”