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.

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