IMEX America, which was scheduled to run September 15-17, 2020 at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas, has been cancelled. The 2021 edition of the show will be held November 9-11, 2021 at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas.
In a letter to the industry posted on the IMEX America site, IMEX Group chairman Ray Bloom and CEO Carina Bauer explained that three factors influenced the decision. First of all, corporate travel bans and continuing travel restrictions meant that they could not guarantee the large, high-quality hosted buyer program that is the backbone of exhibitor ROI from the show. Second, the decision had to be made in time to reduce risk and exposure for the show’s exhibitors, partners and suppliers. And third, global travel restrictions and uncertainty about when they would be lifted made it impossible for attendees and exhibitors, particularly those from outside North America, to commit to attending.
Here is their statement.
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 from September 15-17.
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 program. 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 that 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 plart 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 aerve 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.