by Lisa Grimaldi | November 30, 2009

The IMEX Group has announced it will launch IMEX America, a hosted-buyer trade show for the meetings, incentives and events industry, Oct. 11-13, 2011, at the Sands Expo Convention Center in Las Vegas.

This comes just weeks after Reed Travel Exhibitions revealed it would debut its own North American hosted-buyer trade show June 21-23, 2011 (moved from June 2009), in Baltimore. In addition, organizers of the Chicago-based Motivation Show, which had been the largest U.S. meetings industry trade show, said its exhibition would be cut from three days to two beginning next year.

When asked why he was launching the show, Ray Bloom, chairman of the IMEX Group, told M&C, "There has been a gap in the U.S. market for a very long time." He anticipates the initial show will host 1,500 buyers, with 80 percent coming from North America. The company has opened an office in Chicago, headed by IMEX America president Kimberly Meyer.

IMEX America has the support of major industry associations, including Meeting Professionals International, which is a strategic partner for the show and will provide the educational elements.

When asked what else the partnership might entail, including how it might affect MPI's current offerings, MPI president Bruce MacMillan said, "There will always be a marketplace experience at MPI live events. Just as we have moved away from a traditional trade show at MeetDifferent 2010 based on member feedback, we also will continue to evolve our World Education Congress marketplace experience to reflect member needs. With the economy recovering, we need to create more marketplace opportunities for members, not fewer."