by Lisa Grimaldi | August 01, 2008

Planners and suppliers from more than 46 countries, including the United States, are split on how they think the economy will affect the meetings sector, according to a poll conducted by the organizers of IMEX, the international industry trade show held annually in Frankfurt, Germany. Forty-eight percent of those polled were optimistic, while 52 percent thought the current climate would have a negative effect on the marketplace.

The e-mail survey of 515 respondents, including corporate buyers, third-party planners, association leaders, suppliers and other industry professionals, was conducted after the 2008 show, which was held April 21-23. Among the other findings:

* When asked specifically about incentive programs, 59 percent of those polled said difficult economic circumstances actually could spur the creation of more programs.

* Respondents report sustained demand for meetings and incentives in Brazil, China, India and Russia, where globalization continues to build momentum.

In an IMEX survey conducted in the first quarter of 2008, respondents predicted modest business growth over the next 12 months.