by Lisa A. Grimaldi | May 16, 2017
The IMEX Frankfurt 2017 meetings-industry trade show started today in Germany. This year's edition, the 15th, features 3,500 companies exhibiting from more than 150 countries. Among first-time exhibitors this year are Moldova Tourism, Meet Puerto Rico, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the Kyoto Convention Bureau and Jeju Province (South Korea). Though final numbers for buyers won't be available until later this week, IMEX CEO Carina Bauer told M&C she expects that number will surpass the 9,000 buyers who attended the 2016 show.
 
In today's opening ceremony, Ray Bloom, chairman of the IMEX Group, said, "IMEX always provides revealing insights into the industry's prevailing mood - and that resilience and forward-looking attitude is clearly evident here this week, with growth from both new and existing exhibitors adding up to the largest ever IMEX."
 
Opening keynote speaker Greg Clark, CBE, a global advisor on cities and business, described meetings as "growing, sophisticated and substantial, offering broad and deep benefits, a big new globalizing industry of our time that should be closely aligned to cities." In his insightful presentation, Clark also noted that the meetings industry is a critical partner to any city, and that not taking the industry seriously comes at a substantial cost.
 
In the months leading up to the event, IMEX launched a talking point, "Purposeful Meetings," for both this show and IMEX America, which takes place in Las Vegas, Oct. 10-12. The initial findings of a major piece of events-industry research on purposeful meetings will be revealed in a keynote session on Wednesday.
 
This year's show features a record 250 education sessions, beginning with the launch of EduMonday, a full day of learning opportunities presented in both English and German, providing insights into event design, future trends and hot new technologies. Experts from the new Zeus Eventtech Academy, the German Convention Bureau, Meetology, Play With a Purpose and the Event Design Collective were among many contributors. With Exclusively Corporate, Association Day and the PCMA Business School also taking place yesterday, more people than ever before were able to participate in EduMonday.
 
IMEX Frankfurt also features its largest technology area to date and offers a TECHknowledge Area dedicated to helping buyers with advice and honest opinions from experts about the right tech for an event, while giving them the chance to touch, test and try the latest gadgets such as wearables, virtual reality headsets and more.