by Matt Alderton | October 16, 2012
The second annual IMEX America was 28 percent larger than the inaugural trade show, the IMEX Group announced on the first day of the expo.

The show, which launched last October as the American version of the original IMEX trade show in Frankfurt, Germany, featured 77 new booths and showcased 2,413 exhibiting companies. Space taken from exhibitors representing Africa and the Middle East was up by 49 percent, Asia by 29 percent, the Caribbean by 61 percent, Latin America by 50 percent and Europe by 14 percent. Space taken from U.S .exhibitors was up by 23 percent.

Said IMEX Group Chairman Ray Bloom on the show's opening day, "I am … delighted to announce … that IMEX America 2012 is substantially bigger this year with an even greater variety of exhibitors from across the U.S. and around the world. Buyers have made an outstanding number of appointments with exhibitors in the past month and we are certain that an enormous amount of business will be done on the show floor and in the networking receptions over the coming three days."

Bloom stated that the event welcomed 2,400 hosted buyers, an increase of 20 percent compared to last year's hosted buyer program. In addition to the hosted buyers, approximately 1,700 meeting professionals attended on their own. "Our non-hosted attendees also showed an increase," said Bloom. "We offered an aggressive show package to reach out to these attendees and we're very pleased with the response it generated."

Brisk traffic on the show floor on the final day indicated that many of the 4,000-plus attendees attended all three days. Bloom stated that the 2,413 exhibitors had 40,000 appointments, which is an increase of 15,000 compared to 2011. The increased activity has resulted in a decision to move into larger halls at the Sands Expo to allow the show to grow.

One area of growth was the number of merchandise exhibitors, which grew to more than a dozen this year. The Incentive Marketing Association was the anchor booth in a merchandise section that featured brands such as Sony, Bulova, Samsonite, Tumi and Canon. Bloom was careful to note that IMEX America will not be developing a significant premium component. "These exhibitors had to have products that fit the profile of our travel-oriented show," he said. "If they met criteria, they could exhibit, but we have no plans to make this a merchandise show."