by Leo Jakobson | May 23, 2013
IMEX Frankfurt wrapped up on May 23 with a new record of 53,000 appointments scheduled by an also record-breaking 3,900 hosted buyers.

Overall, the three-day meetings, incentives and conventions trade show in Germany saw a 33 percent increase in the number of appointments made by a total of 9,000 hosted and non-hosted buyers. 

“We've been rushed off our feet — 60 scheduled appointments took place [on day two] alone,” said Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, executive manager of the South Africa National Convention Bureau, in a statement. “The pre-booking method is really useful — it enables us to plan our time at the show efficiently.”

Building political support for the meetings industry was one focus of the show. Speaking before the the opening day’s Politicians Forum, Philippe Fournier, president of the Joint Meetings Industry Council, said: “It has always been clear that ours is an industry that strongly and quickly reflects the economic conditions around us. But over the past few years we have come to realize we need to spend more time and attention looking at the other side of this relationship — which is the fact that the strength and effectiveness of the meetings industry actually shapes the state of the economy over the long term.”

One indication that message has been heard came from the participants in the Politicians' Forum, which for the first time saw three tourism ministers — from Mexico, South Africa, and Egypt — participate. In all, 36 politicians from 28 countries attended.

“From business appointment numbers, to hosted buyer growth and visitor numbers, this has been another strong year,” said IMEX Chairman Ray Blom, in a statement. “Above all, we now have good technologies in place which support business growth for exhibitors and buyers and we look forward to building on this again in 2014.”

On Monday, the day before the show opened, the Association Day track brought more than 300 association executives to the show for a targeted day of education and networking. Monday also saw a new event specifically for corporate buyers, Exclusively Corporate @IMEX, which brought 70 corporate buyers to the show, nearly three quarters of whom were new to IMEX Frankfurt. They also attended a day of special education and networking events, as well as roundtables that were Webcast live. 

Awards handed out at the show included several presented by IMEX in combination with the Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC). The IMEX/GMIC Green Exhibitor Award was presented to the German Convention Bureau, and the IMEX/GMIC Green Supplier Award went to NH Hoteles. Hands Up Incentives won the IMEX/GMIC Commitment to the Community Award.