Barely a month into 2021, and IMEX has announced that their annual
meetings industry trade show held in Frankfurt, Germany has been
cancelled — the second year in a row — due to Covid-19 implications.
Originally scheduled for 25-27 May at Messe Frankfurt, Ray Bloom,
chair of the IMEX Group, and Carina Bauer, the company's CEO, announced
the cancellation "with regret" on Monday, 11 January on the IMEX web
"We know the timing of our announcement comes as a blow so early in
2021. More than anything, and like you, we’re eager to deliver some good
news and mark a fresh start," the statement went.
"When we were compelled to cancel IMEX in Frankfurt and IMEX America
last year we hoped 2021 would see the early recovery of the industry and
the IMEX shows. We still believe wholeheartedly that a resurgence will
come, but sadly we do not believe it will happen in time for us to
deliver a strong and successful event in May."
Highly reliant on international travel, the event typically sees
exhibitors and buyers representing more than 150 countries attending the
show — a poignant reminder on the extended impact of continued global
"IMEX in Frankfurt is a hugely global event and we are, therefore,
reliant on international travel routes being open in the coming weeks to
allow our buyers and exhibitors from across the world to confirm their
Bloom and Bauer's statement went on about how IMEX is nonetheless
still "genuinely positive about the future," also highlighting the
vaccine rollouts and improvements in Covid-19 tests which have been
pumping hope into the travel and meetings industry.
"We are optimistic that, in 2021, our business events industry can
‘kick back into gear’. Testing and vaccination programmes will allow for
markets to open up again and for confidence to return. But first, we
have to make it through the winter — where so many of our industry are
supporting the efforts of health care systems," said Kai Hattendorf,
president, JMIC (Joint Meetings Industry Council).
"When IMEX returns to the showfloor — in Vegas as in Frankfurt — JMIC
and our members will be there, and we look forward to re-connecting in
person with Ray, and Carina, and the whole IMEX team."
Partners worldwide have similarly expressed support in IMEX's decision.
Matthias Schultze, managing director at German Convention Bureau
appreciated that "IMEX made this decision early to provide exhibitors,
their partners and participants with planning security," adding that the
bureau is "joining forces with IMEX to work on new solutions and
alternative paths to create platforms for the global business events
community in this year of transition".
"The IMEX trade shows will play a hugely important and integral part
of that recovery and help provide a catalyst for us to once again meet,
engage and develop long-term, trusted relationships. We are naturally
disappointed that this cannot be at IMEX in Frankfurt but look forward
to supporting Ray, Carina and their Team at IMEX America in November at
what will be a landmark event for our industry," said James Rees,
Looking ahead, apart from the Las Vegas show from 9-11 November which
IMEX is "very confident that we’ll be able to deliver," another event
to look out for is the 20th anniversary edition of IMEX in Frankfurt in
2022, scheduled for 26-28 April.
In the meantime for team IMEX, it's back to digital activations and
experiences to continue "uniting and advancing the business events
"We remain at the service of the industry and cannot wait to see all
our industry friends again in person. When we do deliver another IMEX
show, you can count on it being one worth waiting for."