IMEX gambles on Vegas

Trade show IMEX has joined the
battle of the meetings industry heavyweights by launching its brand in
North America.

IMEX chairman Ray Bloom announced in
Las Vegas that ‘IMEX America’ will hit the
US in 2011. It will take place at the
Sands Expo Convention Centre 11-13 October. The announcement follows Reed Travel
Exhibitions’ decision to go ahead with its American ‘IBTM’ in Baltimore in June 2011.

“I have realised the need in the
US for a broadly based show for a
long time,” Bloom tells Conference
News
. “It is the top city in the country, if not the world, for
meetings and incentive travel.”

He would not comment on RTE’s plans
for 2011 or the existing IT&ME show in Chicago, saying he had “no view on the other
shows”, preferring to “focus on what IMEX is doing”.
MD Paul Flackett
predicts the first US show
will be 6,000 square metres in size with 1,500 hosted buyers 80 per cent of whom
were likely to come from within North
America.

Chair of RTE meetings and incentives
events, Vanessa Cotton, tells CN
Reed had been aware that IMEX was set to launch in Las Vegas: “It would be quite extraordinary, in such a
large country as the US, not to have more than one event
dedicated to an industry that thrives on bringing suppliers and buyers
together”.

She says the launch of IMEX
America has not changed any of RTE’s plans for the AIBTM event, and underlined
the importance of holding such an event “on the East Coast of the
US, as opposed to anywhere
else in the US”. 

Former RTE exhibitions group
director Paul Kennedy, now a private consultant, says he is “disappointed”
that yet another major competitive situation for the industry has been created.

“Vegas is a great place but does not
have a resident or nearby meeting planner population,” says Kennedy. “Baltimore is much better placed to attract the huge numbers
of association, government and corporate sector planners from the North East of
the USA, as well as having considerably
better international access for international buyers and, as such, its position
as a gateway city is superior.

“I wonder, too, about the choice of
a resort destination at a time when as an industry we are trying to
demonstrate the importance and validity of meetings,” he
adds.

Let battle
commence.

Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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