The return of thousands of global buyers and exhibitors to IMEX America 2022 next week at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Las Vegas could be a sign that the industry is bouncing back stronger than ever, according to Carina Bauer, CEO of IMEX Group. She reported this week that more than 3,000 buyers and 3,000 exhibiting companies have registered.

That includes new booths from U.S. cities such as Detroit and Boston, who are announcing news from the show floor, and European and Asia-Pacific partners such as Abu Dhabi, Bahamas and the Dominican Republic who are returning in full force. Panama plans to announce details of a new convention center, hotel openings and a cruise terminal.

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“Our 2021 come-back show was invested with an air of sheer celebration and excitement as the global industry reunited. This year, the business fundamentals are what stand out,” she said. “If our numbers are anything to go by, then despite strong macro pressures, including inflation and talent shortages, the bounce-back could be even stronger and more robust than forecasts predict.”

She positioned the show as a bellwether event, offering a picture of business volume and pipelines that could be realized in 2023 and beyond.

Make plans to visit Smart Meetings in booth F933 and get yourself on the magazine cover.

An Eco-friendly Focus

All of the educational offerings have been fine-tuned into four tracks for what Bauer calls “radical simplicity.” The People and Planet track will highlight tangible steps meeting professionals can take to reduce their events’ carbon footprints. One example is “Sustainability and the Circular Economy” with Aurora Dawn Benton, chief change agent with Astrapto, and Benoit Sauvage, CEO of Hospitality Sustainability Revolution. The pair will detail how integrating best practices in events delivers a host of benefits from enhanced brand, increased clientele, reduced costs and exceptional experiences.

“Sustainability has been fundamental to IMEX ever since the launch of our very first IMEX in Frankfurt show nearly 20 years ago,” said Bauer. “When we launched IMEX America in 2011, we implemented planet-friendly practices from the offset. We’ve evolved and improved these over the years, working closely with our host venues, city and suppliers.”

The IMEX-EIC People and Planet Village will be the hub of sustainable activity.

One example of how the show is demonstrating rather than preaching is a partnership with MeetGreen. A commitment to measuring, evaluating and building on sustainable activity at IMEX America is helping to shrink the footprint. “The show is improved by the findings and recommendations of their independently verified annual sustainability impact report and benchmarked against industry best practice such as EIC’s Sustainable Event Standards,” said Bauer. The report makes public the show’s energy use, F&B, materials consumption and reuse, community impact and more. (See the report from IMEX America 2011 here).

“Our ongoing aim is to build on our efforts and challenge ourselves to do better each year. Looking ahead, we’re also proudly committed to the Net Zero Carbon Events initiative and will publish our pathway to net zero by the end of 2023,” she added.

A Moving Initiative

To get everyone excited about attending a cleaner, healthier IMEX, Maritz Global Events is partnering with Caesars Entertainment and Heka Health to power a Sustainability Challenge that rewards good behavior. Rachael Riggs, Maritz wellbeing leader, described it as an app that tracks learning around everything from DEI and human trafficking to eating plant-based food, taking a walking tour or signing a Net Zero Carbon Event Pledge. “It is a fun way to educate guests on how IMEX is doing on sustainability so they could take those learnings back with them,” said Riggs.

Tips for doing your part at IMEX include:

  • Walk or take public transport around Las Vegas
  • Bring your reusable water bottle and keep cup
  • Choose climate-friendly, water-wise food
  • Build Clean the World hygiene kits
  • Use designated recycling bins
  • Support local community project The Shade Tree
  • Participate in Opportunity Village
  • Take part in Spread the Word Nevada