New era for AIME begins

TOURISM boards and multinational hotel groups that have given AIME the swerve in recent years will be back, according to both the outgoing and the new organisers of the annual trade show.

After 20 years of organising the event, Reed Travel Exhibitions bade farewell to the Asia-Pacific Incentive & Meetings Expo when the 2018 edition came to a close in Melbourne on February 21.

Talk2 Media and Events, led by former Diversified Exhibitions director Matt Pearce, now takes up the reins with a promise to boost the number of hosted buyers, revamp the style and variety of booths, while re-engaging with the business tourism and events sectors.

Pearce and Graeme Barnett, senior exhibitions director with Reed Travel Exhibitions, both expressed confidence that the likes of tourism boards from Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Thailand would return as exhibitors along with major hotel groups.

Karen Bolinger, chief executive of Melbourne Convention Bureau, said AIME would continue to stand among the “grand slam” of trade shows for the business events industry alongside the IMEX in Las Vegas and Frankfurt, and ibtm World, in Barcelona. “The intention is to grow it more with really good qualified buyers, particularly international,” said Bolinger, hinting that Reed’s outlook on AIME would have differed from Melbourne Convention Bureau, which owns the show.  

“As the industry has grown in this part of the world, the proposition is a bit different, and I think the way I always describe AIME is that the industry very much feels like they own a share of the show – which is absolutely fantastic – and as a result of that it’s probably not quite as commercial as the other shows out there.

“So therefore Reed is a commercial operator, and what they might’ve been looking for is very different.”

Talk2 ME’s Matt Pearce said research and discussions with key industry players were continuing, but noted that that wooing major exhibitors that have shied away from the show in recent years was a challenge as opposed to a problem.

“I respect all of them for having good measurable return on investment criteria and if they’re not getting that why wouldn’t they walk away? They’re not charities,” Pearce said.

“The challenge for us is to get them to believe in what we’re doing and come back and trial it. Now that’s where the challenge is – so we will go and talk to all of them.” 

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