Black Meetings and Tourism

September/October 2010

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slightly but did not necessarily decline.”Another shared the opinion, “In Canada we are quickly moving out of the eco- nomic downturn...our GDP is up 6.1% already. Fortunately, perception may no longer be an issue.” In contrast, U.S. respondents acknowledge the possibility MEETINGS INDUSTRY SNAPSHOT: PLANNERS EXPRESS ‘CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM’ A little over half (54%) of meetings industry specialists in theU.S. and Canada have expressed‘cautious opti- mism’ about the return of meetings and incentives market, according to a recent poll taken by the IMEX Group following its Frankfurt trade show. A further nine percent said that they are ‘very optimistic.’ The poll was conduct- ed among 200 North American buyers and suppliers in June 2010, following the conclusion of IMEX in Frankfurt, which took place May 25-27, 2010. Carole Wallace, President & CEO of the San Diego Convention Center Corp. attends Politicians Forum at Westin Grand Hotel. The poll results are good news for the U.K. based IMEX Group, which will launch its first annual IMEX America exhibition, October 11-13, 2011, in Las Vegas, at the Sands Expo at the Venetian/Palazzo Hotel. RayBloom, chairman of the IMEXGroup comments,“We recently declared an increase in the hosted buyer programfor IMEX America – we now expect in excess of 2000 buyers – because our partners and intermediaries have a renewed con- fidence in future growth.This represents an increase of more than 30 percent on our initial launch figure.Our survey find- ings are also in line with other recent global and US industry reports which suggests that this new found confidence is not just about mood but about real business volumes.” The poll also revealed that Canadian planners are even more optimistic. While one in five (21%) U.S. planners doubt the meetings market is in recovery, Canadian buyers are generally convinced that already it is ‘business as usual,’ suggesting that the sector has rebounded faster because their economy and financial systems were hit less severely. As one planner explained, “Our financial system was never really in too much trouble. No banks closed, and there were few or no foreclosure increases. Business demands changed 56 of continuing business volatility and that recovery may only be slow. However, their confidence is underpinned by a sense that there is pent up demand for travel. Said one organizer, “We are starting to experience a resurgence in incentive programs from our cus- tomers. Qualification lev- els are stronger and fore- casts for 2011 are stronger than 2010.” Another com- mented, “We are seeing an increase in the number of programs for 2010 over 2009, so that is a positive. There are encouraging small gains as well as the better reception we are IMEX Academy Award, The Americas presented to Greg Ortale, President & CEO, Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau at Awards and Gala Dinner 2010 receiving to our offers.” Survey participants confirm also that their meet- ings and incentives tend to be short-notice, travel less far, remain value-con- scious, and are simpler and more ROI-focused than those held prior to the downturn. Some argue that the formula of ‘more for less’ – frugality and less frivolity – could prove to be the new real- ity for many years ahead. About IMEX Ame- Rossi Ralenkotter, President & CEO of the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, addresses IMEX attendees. rica – The show’s strate- gic partner and major educational provider is MPI. It is endorsed by DMAI and Site, and has an Industry Part-nershipwith PCMA. IMEXAmerica also has major partnerships in place with all the other leading industry associations across the world. IMEX America will offer a unique model of trade show, new to the US market. It will assure exhibitors of meeting and making business appoint- ments on their booths with in excess of 2,000 highly qualified hosted buyers.Themajority (80%) of these hosted buyers will come from NorthAmerica, with the balance from the rest of the world. In addition thousands of additional U.S. buyer attendees are expected to attend fromacross NorthAmerica. Black Meetings & Tourism September/October 2010:

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