The IMEX Group has announced the cancellation of its IMEX America show, which was to have run in Las Vegas, 15-17 September 2020. Group Chairman Ray Bloom and Group CEO Carina Bauer released the following statement, 10 June:
Message from Ray and Carina
It is with great regret and disappointment that today we are announcing that we have made the difficult decision to cancel IMEX America 2020, due to take place at the Sands Expo, Las Vegas, 15-17 September.
Our industry has been impacted heavily by the global lockdowns and travel restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and we know how many of you were looking forward to coming together again in Las Vegas this fall. We’re acutely aware that since lockdown began, IMEX America 2020 has come to represent a beacon of hope for the entire business events community. We assure you, no-one is more disappointed than the IMEX team that we can’t fulfil that expectation.
However, we must also be realistic about the current reality. There are three main reasons why we’ve taken the decision to cancel IMEX America 2020.
First and foremost is our responsibility to our exhibitors to deliver a return on the investment they make in the show. We do this through our guarantee of delivering a high quality, large-scale hosted buyer programme. With corporate travel bans still in place and uncertainty over continued global travel restrictions, we’re sadly in no position to offer that guarantee.
Second is the issue of timings. As industry professionals you know that a show of the scale of IMEX America doesn’t happen overnight. Our industry supply chain and the investments that our exhibitors make in the show start now. It’s therefore important that we make this decision at a time when we’re still able to reduce the risk and exposure for our exhibitors, partners and suppliers.
Finally, IMEX America is a truly global show, with over a third of the 13,000+ industry professionals attending from outside North America. Global travel restrictions and uncertainties around when they might be lifted make it impossible for a large proportion of our exhibitors, buyers and key industry professionals to commit to attending. And, whilst the global events industry is proudly distinct from the travel and tourism sector, nothing has demonstrated our interlinked fortunes and dependencies more keenly than the current crisis.
It is for these reasons that we’ve taken the difficult decision to cancel IMEX America for 2020. Our team has spent the past few weeks in constant contact with our exhibitors, partners and suppliers and we’ve been overwhelmed by, and so grateful for, the support we’ve received.
Many in the industry took part in our PlanetIMEX activities during May. We’ll continue to work on this virtual platform and the industry can expect to see innovations and plenty of fresh activity online during September and beyond. We know that nothing we do online can make up for the loss of meeting, celebrating and doing business together face to face in Las Vegas at what would have been the 10th anniversary of IMEX America. We’ll miss shaking your hands, giving our industry friends a well-earned hug and looking you in the eye with a warm smile. However, true to the spirit of IMEX and our heartfelt commitment to the industry we love, we’ll do our very best to deliver our customary high-quality content, business connections plus a dash of fun through our online experience until we can all meet again.
The IMEX Team will also be extremely busy planning forward confidently and with passion for IMEX in Frankfurt and IMEX America 2021, when we look forward to welcoming back the global business events community face to face.
We believe strongly in the resilience, flexibility and creativity of our industry. We’re optimistic that meeting face to face will play an important role in helping our economies and all the industries we serve to regenerate and recover. We’re certain that globally there’s a great deal of pent-up demand to come together for both business and for pleasure, once it is safe to do so.
We WILL meet again and, like you, we can’t wait for that moment to come.
With very best wishes,
Carina and Ray
United. Resilient. Proud
Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX Group
Ray Bloom, Chairman, IMEX Group
IMEX also published the following key messages from partners reflecting the depth of feeling around the loss of the 2020 show:
“For the past three months, the meetings and live events industry have been inordinately impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, with the cancellation of IMEX America by our strategic partners and friends at the IMEX Group being the latest significant blow. Our hearts go out to the entire IMEX family. We appreciate and understand how tough a decision this was to make and know fully that IMEX will be at the forefront of our industry’s recovery, because alongside them, we are all smarter and stronger together.”
Paul Van Deventer, President and CEO, MPI
“While we are disappointed IMEX America won’t be held in Las Vegas this fall, we understand and support the decision. Las Vegas has just started the process of reopening our resorts, and our top priority remains ensuring our community and visitors stay safe, while also enjoying a fulfilling only-in-Vegas experience. We believe that once this crisis is behind us IMEX America will be more vital than ever to reinvigorating the global business events industry. We are thrilled to welcome IMEX America 2021 to Las Vegas, and hope we’ll see all of you there.”
John Schreiber, VP of Business Sales, LVCVA
“The two IMEX annual shows continue to be extremely valuable and engaging as they gather thousands of exhibitions and business events professionals together to celebrate and enhance our industry. We look forward to welcoming back and attending both shows again in 2021. Please do know that we appreciate how difficult times are right now and we will all work hard to come out of these challenges even stronger and will help make our industry even more valuable to our global economies.”
David Dubois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA, President and CEO, IAEE
“Our whole industry will be disappointed to hear this news, however in the circumstances it is understandably the right decision and gives all of us as stakeholders a good period of notice to change plans that had been made. The whole ICCA community stands together with Ray, Carina and the IMEX Team and we look forward to supporting both IMEX in Frankfurt and IMEX America in 2021 when we will meet again to build the trusted business relationships which lay at the foundation of every IMEX event."
James Rees, President and Senthil Gopinath, CEO, ICCA
“JMIC is sorry to hear about the cancellation of IMEX America for this year, but we fully support the decision Ray and Carina had to take. Our industry is losing a flagship show for this year yet again after the cancellation of IMEX in Frankfurt. Yes, we will meet online - but eyeballs don’t discuss deals, they don’t sign orders, and they don’t deepen connections. So, we look all the more forward into 2021. The task for us as the industry right now is to stand united, and to do what we can to re-open the meeting places and the market places of the world in a safe way for our colleagues and customers to be there.”
Kai Hattendorf, MD/CEO, UFI and President JMIC