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A glittering night of celebration, reconnection and recognition

Professionals from all corners of the global business events industry were honoured at the IMEX in Frankfurt Gala Dinner Awards at the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel last night.

As part of IMEX in Frankfurt currently taking place, the awards brought together meeting and event professionals in a glittering gathering to celebrate the achievements, innovation and resilience of individuals within the industry.

The evening started with a huge round of applause, as Destinations International President and CEO Don Welsh handed over the Global Ambassador Award to Adam Burke, president and CEO of Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board. Burke was recognised for his commitment to developing equity, diversity and inclusion best practices as well as for strong leadership within his community. Attendees heard how Burke drives initiatives that support workforce development within the destination and introduced the concept of the city’s convention centre serving as a space to support future leaders.

The roll of honour continued with the IAEE International Excellence Award, presented by IAEE President and CEO David DuBois to Simon Wang, executive vice president, Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA). Wang has been at the forefront of various government projects promoting the meetings and events industry and is project director of Taiwan’s MICE Promotion Program – MEET. An experienced and devoted promoter, he’s one of the opinion leaders in Taiwan’s MICE industry.

With sustainability continuing to be high priority, especially as the 2050 Net Zero target edges closer, this year’s IAPCO Innovation Award was particularly fitting.  Ms Ok Hyojung, director of Ezpmp Korea, was honoured for her use of innovative digital technology to deliver a flawless carbon neutral event to a virtual audience. The P4G Summit in Korea in 2021 was the first multilateral environmental event to be hosted by the South Korean government and brought together government representatives and international organisations to focus on ‘Inclusive Green Recovery Towards Carbon Neutrality.’

New for this year, The ICCA Global Influencer Award acknowledges an outstanding contribution to the association meetings industry and was won by Thomas Reiser, executive director of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH) and chair – ICCA Association Advisory Committee. ICCA President James Rees presented the award in recognition of Reiser’s leadership role and the impact of his personality, knowledge and expertise throughout the association community.

As JMIC President, Rees also presided over the JMIC Unity Award, given to Rod Cameron, president of Criterion Communications Ltd. The award recognised Cameron’s significant contribution to the development of the industry and consistently high level of professionalism.

Next, the awards looked ahead to the event professionals of the future:Panashe Mahakwa, a student at Vistula University in Warsaw, won the MPI Foundation Student Scholarship Award, which celebrates and supports the next generation of meeting planners as part of the IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum International University Challenge.

The PCMA Global Business Events Executive of the Year Award is always hotly anticipated. PCMA President and CEO Sherrif Karamat recognised Patrizia Buongiorno, vice president, AIM GROUP International. She truly exemplifies the sentiment with which this award was created by holding herself and her team to the highest standards, mentoring, training and creating opportunities for her team to be recognised for their achievements. In addition to her role at AIM Group International, Buongiorno also dedicates her time to teaching the next generation of industry professionals at several universities.

One of our industry’s most valued skills is the ability to motivate, and it was the duty of Rebecca Wright, SITE executive director, to hand over the Jane E. Schuldt SITE Master Motivator Award to the brilliant Paul Miller, CIS, CITP, managing director of Spectra DMC.  Before his current role with Spectra, an award-winning DMC based in the UK, Miller has had four years of service in the Royal Household at Buckingham Palace. This award honours a SITE member who upholds the highest standard of excellence in creating and delivering successful incentive travel events and exudes enthusiasm and a collaborative spirit in support of the global incentive travel community.

The global pandemic has elevated legacy from optional add-on to fundamental requirement. The Copenhagen Convention Bureau won the hotly-contestedIMEX EIC Innovation in Sustainability Award for its Copenhagen Legacy Lab (CLL). Amy Calvert, CEO of EIC, presented the award to Bettina Reventlow-Mourier, Copenhagen CVB’s deputy convention director. The CLL connects international congresses held in Copenhagen with local business and science communities, thereby integrating legacy before, during and after events.

The Paul Flackett IMEX Academy Awards, named in tribute to the former IMEX managing director, were a fitting climax to the dinner. Three outstanding women were recognised for their long-term commitment to the industry and for pushing boundaries around innovation.   

The 2022 roll call: 

  • Carlotta Ferrari, Convention Bureau Italia
  • Barbara Jamison-Woods, London & Partners
  • Karen Bolinger, Bolinger Consulting

Carina Bauer, IMEX Group CEO, said: “A huge congratulations to all our Academy Award winners. These awards are a timely reminder of the sheer innovation, professionalism, skill and resilience that our industry is renowned for and should, rightfully, celebrate.”

Malaysia is ready to connect at IMEX Frankfurt

Frankfurt, Germany – Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) will be staging its presence at the 20th IMEX Frankfurt worldwide exhibition happening from 31 May – 2 June 2022 held in Messe, Frankfurt. The national bureau acts as Malaysia’s leading representative partaking a tradeshow to showcase its timely business events’ offerings projecting significant breakthrough in restarting the business events industry amidst endemic times. 

Paving the way, MyCEB will be introducing Malaysia’s campaigns and initiatives responsible to revitalise business event activities in 2022 such as the 3R Initiative – Reset, Restart, Responsible, Meet in Malaysia Campaign, and MySafe Business Events Planner. The 3R initiative includes supporting Malaysian companies to maintain membership with international associations, comprehensive upskilling programmes and certification, and provide incentive to international delegates. MyCEB is glorified to share that a list of private sector’s participation from the business events industry is covered under the 3R initiative for this particular trade show.

The pinnacle of MyCEB’s participation lays the essence of the business events economy aimed at knowledge sharing, networking, future research capacity, and showcasing the destination’s reputation all of which leads to boost business opportunities at a global scale. Malaysia will be showcasing a strong showing of 9 exhibitors namely World Trade Centre (WTC) Kuala Lumpur, Business Events Sarawak, Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK), Malaysia International Trade & Exhibition Centre (MITEC), Sabah Tourism Board (STB), Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC), Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PCEB), Setia SPICE Convention Centre and Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC).

IMEX Frankfurt is designed as a powerful platform for business event industry players to come together; display and demonstrate the latest updates and services for over 1500 exhibitors from more than 90 countries. 

IMEX Frankfort Announces Germany COVID-19 Restrictions Lifted

On 2 April Germany lifted ALL Covid-19 restrictions (known as 3G) on live meetings, events and trade shows. This milestone marks a turning point for the economic regeneration of the global meetings and events industry and, importantly, for the German market. 

The IMEX team knows you want to feel productive at IMEX in Frankfurt this May, and you also want to feel physically and psychologically safe. So, we’re KEEPING our health and safety plan in place. (Read about it here). 

  • Generously-sized aisles 
  • Use of multiple outdoor spaces 
  • 2 entrances to Hall 8 (our exhibit hall) to minimise queueing or over-crowding 
  • Home badge printing 
  • Widely-spaced, plentiful seating areas 
  • 2 Messe Frankfurt halls – 8 and 9 

You can also choose to wear a mask and keep your distance all day long and, rest assured, Messe Frankfurt’s own hygiene standards include fresh air ventilation, disinfection stations and enhanced cleaning. 

So, whether you’re an exhibitor, buyer, supplier, partner, student, journalist or speaker, remember the thrill of a shared experience and know that you’re in safe hands with IMEX.

IMEX Frankfurt 2022 Post-Trip to Paris Invitation

Is Paris a prospect for your future meeting?  It’s waiting for you to book at the top of the ICCA list of most popular European meeting cities.  Join Susan Sarfati and Liz Jackson on their IMEX hosted buyer 3-night post-IMEX trip June 2-5 to Paris sponsored by the Paris CVB.  (No need to be part of their IMEX hosted buyer group but are invited to join if you have not yet confirmed for IMEX.)


  1. Association or AMC buyer with a European meeting prospect for Paris                                                                                  
  2. Not held a recent meeting in Paris
  3. Not been on a recent site visit to Paris
  4. Meeting prospect of 100-400+ attendees

The plans include a Thursday evening transfer from Frankfurt to Paris after the IMEX show.  Two full days of visiting Paris landmarks which make this great city a wonderful choice for meeting attendance plus stops at several hotels and conference centers large enough to accommodate meetings.  Transportation, hotel, meals and sightseeing are covered by the Paris CVB.  Fly home from Paris on Sunday or stay in Europe longer on your own. 

Join us and contact Liz Jackson to RSVP 703.964.6030 or

Refreshed Meetings Property in Southwest Florida


In January, Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa in Bonita Springs, Fla., completed a multimillion-dollar guest-room renovation to mark its 20-year anniversary, about a year after updating its meeting and public spaces.

The latest updates include a full transformation of the property’s 426 guest rooms and 28 suites. These showcase a tropical feel with new hardwood flooring, coconut-wood bed frames, and modern furnishing and décor featuring light greens and vibrant ocean blues. In addition, the resort updated its corridors with wavy light-grey and green carpeting plus dark-brown furniture and fixtures.

The new guest rooms complement the resort’s recently renovated meeting spaces and lobby. Across the 40,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, updated features include light-grey carpeting with ocean-blue curved lines to complement the resort’s waterfront location. The two ballrooms—14,000 square feet and 7,000 square feet—feature new lighting, stages surrounded by deep grey and bright blue drapes, and red chairs. The eight breakout rooms of 600 to 1,480 square feet have new lighting and seating as well.

The property’s 42,000 square feet of outdoor event space includes a 12,000-square-foot courtyard framed by large palm trees plus a 5,400-square-foot terrace off the smaller ballroom. Groups can also host receptions in the resort’s smaller grassy courtyards or at its lakeside putting green.

The resort has a three-acre water park featuring a lazy river, five water slides, and several pools.  Of particular interest to meeting and incentive groups: The water park has an adults-only section with a pool and hot tub in a tranquil setting as well as several cabanas. Also, there’s the Stillwater Spa on site.

Guests can explore a quarter-mile boardwalk that winds through the mangrove forest and ends at the resort’s marina, which provides ferry service to Big Hickory Island, a private island that’s part of the Estero Bay Ecological Preserve. On the 15-minute boat ride, guests can keep an eye out for local marine life including manatees and dolphins. Set across the island’s white-sand beach are dozens of chairs and umbrellas.

Five on-site restaurants and a permanently stationed food truck provide F&B options for groups. Guests can watch the sun set while having dinner in the lakeside screened porch at Tarpon Bay restaurant or enjoy coastal comfort food with an international twist in Tanglewood restaurant.

Hyatt Regency Coconut Point is 18 miles from Southwest Florida International Airport, a 25-minute drive.


Great Britain is Easier to Visit!

As 2022 has kicked off, we bring good news. Britain is open and easier than ever to visit. From February 11, fully vaccinated travellers will no longer need to test or quarantine after arrival (check out our COVID-19 update below). As travel restrictions continue to lessen, many airlines are reintroducing service or launching new routes to Great Britain.

We’re also excited to share VisitBritain’s new brand campaign, ‘Welcome to another side of Britain’ which is set to launch in the US on February 10Scroll down for details.  

Birmingham and the West Midlands are buzzing this year. A six-month cultural program of art and community-led projects will start in March to celebrate creativity across the West Midlands as Birmingham prepares to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games this summer.  On February 6 this year, The Queen will become the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years of service to the UK and Commonwealth. Key celebrations will take place in June and continue throughout the year. Check out Tours International’s Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Tour and finally, don’t forget to tap into loads of Great Britain itinerary inspiration on Travefy!

IMEX America 2021 Gets the Band Back Together!

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The 10th edition of IMEX America held November 9-11 at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas was as much a global homecoming as it was the annual bringing together of thousands of buyers and suppliers in the meeting, convention, and incentive travel market. The IMEX team headed up by Carina Bauer and Ray Bloom did a superhuman job of planning and executing an event that was in danger of being derailed by many “new world” challenges along the way…not the least being the uncertainty of border reopening’s and the certainty of Covid 19 protocols. To quote Carina, “ We were buoyed up knowing you were watching, waiting and willing it into life because it means so much to our global industry.”

As always, along with face to face business, IMEX America offered a wide range of education sessions, a new People & Planet Village with a fruit and vegetable juice bar serving healthy drinks made from imperfect and surplus fruits and vegetables, sustainability and diversity themed panels, one of the largest ever Tech Therapy Hubs and a daily wellbeing program.

However, as the industry’s very first international event to open once the U.S. travel ban was lifted (in the nick of time) on Nov. 8, regeneration and recovery were the main order of business. Roundtables were formed where planners and suppliers offered the wisdom they gained professionally and personally throughout the 18-month interruption of in-person meetings to become better able to thrive in the post-pandemic environment.

The team (Katherine and David Markham, JoAnn Hoffman, Maureen Pickell and Lynne Wellish) is still reeling from working an exhibition that gave approximately 8,500 participants the long awaited opportunity to do business face-to-face. The 2,220 exhibitors representing 200 countries along with 3,000+ buyers saw strong business produced for the exhibiting companies as a result of the 50,000 appointments. These business statistics are admirable but what was even more impressive (yet immeasurable) was the sheer joy and energy generated throughout the exhibition hall as business professionals came back together to pick up right where they left off two years ago.

Final note: The upbeat mood only increased over the three day event as the absolute scope and scale of this year’s show paid testimony to the resilience and adaptability of the global events industry. Thus IMEX America 2021 provided the “shot in the arm” needed by all that could never be duplicated by any vaccine known to modern medicine!

Mark your calendar and see you next year for IMEX America #11 – to be held October 11-13, 2022 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

CCH-Congress Center Hamburg

Since January 2017, the CCH has been undergoing comprehensive remodeling and modernization. Upgraded to the most advanced standards, and offering a wealth of flexible options, the new CCH will be an ideal venue for the varying requirements of today’s conventions and events when it reopens in 4th quarter of 2021. What can our customers expect:

• 12,000 sqm of exhibition space
• 12,000 sqm of foyer space – Hamburg’s largest venue for special events
• 12,000 seats in up to 50 halls and rooms
• CCH team with many years of congress and events know-how and solid expertise across a wide range of modern event formats
• new services + sustainable CCH catering concept

The new CCH will be able to accommodate several concurrent events practically without limitations.

Situated in the immediate vicinity of the city center, yet surrounded by lush vegetation – time and again our guests are enthusiastic about the privileged location of the CCH – Congress Center Hamburg. The local infrastructure available to our customers is exceptional: The CCH is located next to the Dammtor mainline train station and various public transit stations as well as numerous hotels, and Hamburg’s popular city center surrounding the Alster lakes are just a few hundred meters away.

With its economic power, a brilliant scientific community, with its impressive cityscape including the new HafenCity district, the Elbphilharmonie complex and the iconic Alster lakes, and with its rich cultural life, Hamburg is well known as a highly attractive city for events of all kinds.

Welcome to the new CCH, it will be one of Europe’s leading convention centers!

IMPORTANT: IMEX in Frankfurt date change: 31 May – 2 June 2022

Like everyone in the global meetings, events and incentive travel industry, we’re now well practiced at knowing when – and when not – to push ahead with a plan!

The recent rise in Omicron cases combined with our desire to give our business community certainty has led us to push IMEX in Frankfurt back by five weeks. 

Rather than 26 – 28 April 2022, our 20th anniversary show will now take place Tuesday 31 May to Thursday 2 June. Read our news announcement here (in English and German).

Thanks to Messe Frankfurt’s flexibility, these new dates will give our clients, their customers, suppliers and partners more leeway and time to prepare.

We’re announcing our decision today to give you the time and space to plan with confidence and to do so to your desired event standards.  

Rest assured, now that we’ve delivered a successful IMEX America for 8,500 people under carefully controlled health and safety conditions, we’re on your side and confident in our experience and ability to deliver a business-strong, safe, secure and enjoyable 20th anniversary IMEX in Frankfurt this May.  

We look forward to seeing you there! 

To your continued health and business regeneration in 2022,

IMEX Group Chairman, Ray Bloom
 CEO, Carina Bauer

Delta Has a Brilliant Strategy to Eliminate Fear and Get People Flying Again: Instagram

Delta, like all airlines, faces a very real, very big challenge. Right now, the vast majority of people aren’t that interested in climbing onto an airplane with 100 people they don’t know for a few hours. 

It turns out that traveling isn’t as bad as you think it would be. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t very different. For example, when I flew to New York City last month, I had no idea what to expect. Even as a fairly regular traveler during “normal” times, I had more anxiety about getting on a plane than I ever had before. 

That’s entirely natural considering that most people don’t like the “unknown.” We tend to avoid uncertainty as much as possible. Flying simply involves too many variables out of our control for most of us to take what seems like an unnecessary risk during a pandemic.  

But if you’re Delta, that’s bad news. In fact, it’s very expensive bad news. As a result, the company has made an extraordinary effort to keep passengers and crew members safe. 

In an interview with MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle at The Atlantic Festival, Delta’s CEO made clear the cost of COVID-19 to the airline’s business:

We’re flying today at a 60 percent load factor cap. So that means 40 percent of the seats we fly, we are deliberately not filling and not selling. That is not cheap. But the more important decision we make is we gotta put people over profits. And we know that instilling confidence in our customers, as well as our own employees, is job number one. That’s our priority right now.

I’d much rather people remember Delta as the company that took care of them through the pandemic… Customers are making a decisions about who Delta is by the values that we put out on display.

All of that is great, but the key here is “instilling confidence.” None of the rest of it matters if people are too anxious or afraid to do business with your company. To that end, Delta has a brilliant strategy for providing information for customers: Instagram. This morning, I was swiping through my feed, when I came across the following post.

If you tap on it, it reveals individual profiles for each of the different steps the company is taking to make the boarding process safer. If you select one of those profiles, they provide additional information. For example, if you tap on the Customer.Face.Masks profile, it explains:

For everyone’s safety, customers must wear a mask or face covering, and extra masks and Care Kits will be available if you need one. Those with underlying conditions who can’t wear a mask or face covering are required to complete a “Clearance-To-Fly” process before being permitted to travel.

Think about that for a moment. Delta took the time to create a dozen Instagram profiles so that it could better communicate with its followers. Sure, you can argue that Delta has plenty of resources and staff to do this. That’s definitely true. But the thought behind this makes it effective for two reasons.

The first is that it helps create expectations. In that example about face masks, it provides a potential traveler with all of the information they need to know about what is required of them. It even details the process if a passenger has an issue with wearing a mask. (As a side-note, Delta’s CEO says the company has already put 350 people on a no-fly list for refusing to wear masks.)

The second reason I think this is so effective is that it’s not just about creating expectations for someone who has already decided to travel. In my article describing my flight last month, I explained the steps the company is taking to do just that. In a statement, Delta told me, “Our community management team has been highly engaged and very responsive with customers to help increase confidence and reduce anxiety.”

This, on the other hand, is meant to reach people who haven’t decided to travel. It wasn’t on their website or in an email. It was on Instagram. Remember Instagram, that place where we all used to share images of the cool places we visited when we traveled? Delta clearly wants us to get back to that, which is why the fact that it ran this content there is so effective. 

Delta is meeting travelers who have a sense of wanderlust where they are, and is helping them better understand the effort the company is taking to keep everyone safe. That, in turn, helps to reduce the anxiety and uncertainty around travel.

None of that is easy, especially now. And, it doesn’t mean people are going to suddenly start buying plane tickets. This, however, is a creative and interactive way to create expectations. In fact, I think it’s brilliant.