IMEX America Cancellation sets a sad new trend for the MICE industry

IMEX America Cancellation sets a sad new trend for the MICE industry


The IMEX Founder and Chairman, Ray Bloom, and Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX Group, is about to inform visitors and exhibitors saying:

“It is with great regret and disappointment that today 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.”

Prior to the upcoming announcement, a letter sent to partners of IMEX Las Vegas today by Natasha Richards,  Senior Advocacy & Industry Relations Manager, IMEX Group, said:

“Rest assured that we remain committed to our ongoing partnership as we look forward to 2021. IMEX America will be moving to Mandalay Bay next year (November 9-11, 2021), and we will redouble our efforts to ensure that all the key elements that make a successful show will be in place.”

IMEX America has been a trendsetter in the meeting and incentive world ever since the founder Ray Bloom started it in Frankfurt in 2003. eTurboNews has been a partner with IMEX ever since.

The trend for the global meeting industry is less than promising for the immediate future, but experts believe meetings will emerge after a vaccine can be introduced against COVID-19.

It’s commendable for IMEX to set a trend of “health and safety” first. It’s the personal style this event became famous and trusted for. Ray Bloom personally has been seen shaking hands of every visitor after the closure of IMEX, and such times will return, but not in 2020.

Bloom and Bauer say: 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 fulfill that expectation.However, we must also be realistic about the current reality. There are three main reasons why we’ve taken 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.

Many in the industry took part in our PlanetIMEX activities in May. We’ll continue to work on this virtual platform, and the industry can expect to see innovations and plenty of fresh 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.

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The IMEX team will also be extremely busy planning forward confidently and with passion for IMEX in Frankfurt and IMEX America 2021 when we look forward to welcoming back the global business events community face to face.

We believe strongly in the resilience, flexibility, and creativity of our industry. 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.

With very best wishes,
Carina and Ray
#wewillmeetagain

This has not been a good year for IMEX and the meeting industry as a whole.
In May 2020 , Ray Blook and Carina Bauer announced the cancellation of IMEX 2020 in Frankfurt.

Immediately after the announcement partners are responding: 

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 Van Deventer, President and CEO, MPI

While we are disappointed IMEX America won’t be held in Las Vegas this fall, we understand and support the decision. Las Vegas has just started the process of reopening our resorts, and our top priority remains ensuring our community and visitors stay safe, while also enjoying a fulfilling only-in-Vegas experience. We believe that once this crisis is behind us IMEX America will be more vital than ever to reinvigorating the global business events industry. We are thrilled to welcome IMEX America 2021 to Las Vegas, and hope we’ll see all of you there. John Schreiber, VP of Business Sales, LVCVA

The two IMEX annual shows continue to be extremely valuable and engaging as they gather thousands of exhibitions and business events professionals together to celebrate and enhance our industry. We look forward to welcoming back and attending both shows again in 2021. Please do know that we appreciate how difficult times are right now and we will all work hard to come out of these challenges even stronger and will help make our industry even more valuable to our global economies. David Dubois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA, President and CEO, IAEE

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. James Rees, President and Senthil Gopinath, CEO, ICCA

JMIC is sorry to hear about the cancellation of IMEX America for this year, but we fully support the decision Ray and Carina had to take. Our industry is losing a flagship show for this year yet again after the cancellation of IMEX in Frankfurt. Yes, we will meet online – but eyeballs don’t discuss deals, they don’t sign orders, and they don’t deepen connections. So we look all the more forward into 2021. The task for us as the industry right now is to stand united, and to do what we can to re-open the meeting places and the market places of the world in a safe way for our colleagues and customers to be there. Kai Hattendorf, MD/CEO, UFI and President, JMIC

#rebuildingtravel

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