. IMEX Frankfurt 2021 cancelled | Meetings & Conventions Asia

IMEX Frankfurt 2021 cancelled

Uncertainty over international travel thwarts Frankfurt show for a second year, but hopes remain for Las Vegas edition in November.

"When we do deliver another IMEX show, you can count on it being one worth waiting for," in a joint statement by Ray Bloom, chair of the IMEX Group, and Carina Bauer, the company's CEO.
"When we do deliver another IMEX show, you can count on it being one worth waiting for," in a joint statement by Ray Bloom, chair of the IMEX Group, and Carina Bauer, the company's CEO. Photo Credit:IMEX Group

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 page.

"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 border restrictions.

"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 participation.

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, President, ICCA.

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 industry".

"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."