With 12,000-plus exhibitors, hosted buyers and attendees convening in Las Vegas the week after the mass shooting on the Strip Oct. 1, IMEX America 2017 was not only the biggest and most innovative in the event’s seven-year history, it was a testament to the big-hearted nature of the hospitality industry and the power of face-to-face meetings.
“I would like to say how gratifying it has been this week to see the industry coming together here in Las Vegas following the tragic events of last week. It has been fantastic to see the camaraderie within the industry and wanting to support Las Vegas and the industry itself,” said Ray Bloom, chairman of the IMEX Group before citing figures for the event: more than 3,300 exhibitors representing 150 countries; more than 3,200 hosted buyers and 2,500 non-hosted attendees; and 70,000 appointments made online before the show, 75 percent of which came with RFPs.
Cathy Hull, senior vice president of marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said IMEX America 2017, which brought an economic impact of $24 million to the city, reflected the unwavering support for the destination.
“IMEX was one of the first groups to call and express their desire to move forward without any pause following the events of Oct. 1,” she said. “For many around the world who have asked how they can help, the greatest thing to do is keep plans to visit or make plans to visit.”
Beyond the thousands of appointments held on the tradeshow floor, IMEX America 2017 was chock-full of interesting education sessions and innovative areas, including Smart Monday’s Play Room; the Inspiration Hub, with its white blow-up huts for intimate sessions; the Live Zone, featuring unique interactive activities for events; and the Be Well Lounge, with guided meditations by Lee Papa, mindfulness speaker and trainer.