This year more than 12,000 exhibitors and visitors, among those 3200 hosted buyers, attended the event. With more than 3,300 exhibitors representing 150 countries and more than 70,000 appointments made, the seventh IMEX America was the largest ever.
As usual, the business event placed - in addition to networking and sustainable initiatives - great emphasis on the accompanying program, which focused largely on the educational activities. These started the day before the show already with the so-called Smart Monday. As many as 250 different lectures and panels were held throughout the entire event and were attended by more than 1000 visitors. This year's main speech was a lecture by Janet Sperstad (Meeting Professionals International - MPI) entitled Purposeful meetings. We also attended lectures on meeting design, innovative meeting formats, the future of meetings, technology trends, relationship between DMCs and a PCO and on CSR. A lot of attention was put on individual's personal growth and the importance of relaxation - there were specifically designed spaces where group meditations took place.
The Slovenian exhibitors who participated this year under the umbrella of the Slovenian Tourist Board and the Slovenian Convention Bureau, were Ljubljana Convention Bureau, Union Hotels, Hit Universe of Fun, Kompas DMC and Conventa trade show as a special provider. Jointly with our partners we can assess that our participation at IMEX America 2017 was successful, bringing us new potential business leads and over 100 valuable business contacts.
And what are the American clients like? The American hosted buyers proved to be very punctual and focused. They showed great interest for Ljubljana and Slovenia, which is already well know as a leisure destination in the USA. What surprised them the most were our sustainability initiatives, short distances, green nature and great value for money that Slovenia offers. They listened enthusiastically about the underworld (and were particularly intrigued by caves as natural phenomena as well as special venues with potential for hosting different events and even gala dinners).
At the end of the event, Ray Bloom, IMEX Gorup chairman, concluded: "This was a week when the positive outlook of everyone has ensured that doing business, planning meetings and events continues to be a powerful way to regenerate and drive economies forward".
What we will remember the most about IMEX America and Las Vegas apart from the overall organization, which was excellent, is the amazing hospitality and great service that the Americans have been long famous for.
What about our next stop in this year's (business) season? IBTM Barcelona in the end of November. We are looking forward to seeing you all there!