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Frankfurt 19-21 May


The worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events


D 2aily 2015 @IMEX_Group Wednesday 20th May


Biggest ever IMEX set to prove that meetings matter


MEX 2015 opened with the news that this year’s show was the biggest yet, coupled with an inspiring keynote delivered by spe- cial guest Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP, who told the audience that “meetings matter” and that they should be proud of their in- dustry.


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Wishing the guests at the packed opening ceremony a warm welcome, Ray Bloom, IMEX chairman, pointed to a raft of statistical data that demonstrated that the meetings sector was poised for a period of growth. “IMEX 2015 is the largest in our history, with growth being shown across all economic sectors and continents. It is testament to the strength and importance of the industry,” he said.


Bloom said that the presence of IMEX’s biggest Politicians Forum on day one of the show demonstrated that legislators were starting to fully understand just how important a contributor the meetings industry could be to overall economic activity. “Last year’s keynote speaker Taleb Rifai,


secretary general for UNWTO (UN World Tourism Organisation), commented that wherever he goes politicians ask him how they can get more meetings. They are recog- nising its ability to drive economies at a global level.”


Nowhere is this more so than in Ger-


many, where meetings have hit a new high, said Matthias Schultze, managing director of IMEX strategic partner GCB. “The num- ber of people who visit Germany for meet- ings is five times the size of the German population. It is a hugely important indus- try,” he said. To retain this buoyancy, Schultze said that the industry had to continue to adapt, partic- ularly to the challenges of globalisation and digitalisation. Wolfgang Marzin, president and CEO of Frankfurt Messe agreed that no meet- ings suppliers could afford to be complacent, and that they had to continue to exceed clients’ expectations.


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Exclusively Corporate @IMEX 5 Association Day review


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Proactive career management 42 SITE eyes up UK


IMEX DAILY 2015 45 The highlight of the event was SAP’s Mc-


Dermott, who delivered a rousing advocacy of the importance of events for building busi- nesses, calling IMEX “a masterpiece, and a benchmark of meetings”.


Speaking of his experience at Xerox, Mc- Dermott said that he had passionately argued for an increase in the major events budget at a time when the company was looking for cuts elsewhere. “It was a ‘badge moment’, a moment of truth when if it didn’t work they would have


had my badge. That’s what leaders have to do,” he said.


McDermott credited SAP’s own Sapphire programme with helping lead the company into an age of unstructured data where companies have to be more flexible and consumer facing. Engaging with the com- pany’s people face to face was crucial to inspiring them to deliver this change, he said.


“If you’re asking people to go out and change the world, you can’t inspire them


to do it with emails, memos and Power- points,” he said. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”


McDermott said the industry should be proud of the difference it made to the vast hinterlands of supporting industries that relied on it, and for the many jobs that it created and supported. “You matter because you create a network effect that is not just measured in numbers, because of the people that you touch, be-


cause of how many kids will get an education, how many ideas get exchanged, because of the events that the industry is putting on. You are truly changing the world,” he said. Ray Bloom concluded the opening cere- mony by thanking McDermott for his rousing words. He also presented him with a signed Brighton & Hove Albion shirt, from the club where he is a director, in commemoration of McDermott’s grandfather Bobby, a Hall of Fame basketball player. “This is from one sporting family to another,” he said.


Germany sees further rise in


international meeting guests G


ERMANY saw the number of international delegates attending meetings in the


country rise by nine per cent in 2014 to a total of 25.6 million, according to the Meeting & Event Barometer 2015. The survey, which was unveiled at IMEX yesterday, was conducted by the European Institute for the Meetings Industry (EITW) on behalf of the European Association of Event Centres (EVVC), the German Convention Bu- reau (GCB), and the German National Tourist Board (GNTB).


More than 383 million people overall par- ticipated in meetings in Germany, represent- ing a 3.3 per cent growth over 2013 and the sixth year of consecutive growth.


The number of conference hotels, centres and venue spaces grew to 7,152 across the country, up 1.7 per cent from last year. Addi- tionally, 3.04 million conferences, meetings and events took place in Germany in 2014, up one per cent. Matthias Schultze, managing director of the GCB, said: “The continuous growth of the German meetings industry shows that we are well positioned in the international meetings market, but we can never rest on our laurels. We continuously analyse important trends, is- sues and opportunities to further strengthen our offerings for global planners and visitors. The Meeting & Event Barometer 2015 is one way we do this.”


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