IMEX America 2020, set to celebrate its 10th anniversary in Las Vegas at the Sands Expo September 15-17, has officially been cancelled.

In a joint statement on June 10, CEO of IMEX Group Carina Bauer and Chairman Ray Bloom announced:

“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.”

IMEX America is one of the largest gatherings of meeting and event professionals in North America, hosting 13,000-plus attendees, with over a third of those attendees traveling from outside North America.

The global travel restrictions still in place—and many with currently no end date—would make it difficult for IMEX America’s many exhibitors, buyers and industry professionals to attend. Bauer and Bloom cited this, plus a few more key factors that led them to their decision:

  • Corporate travel restrictions: Many companies still have corporate travel bans in place. Coupled with global restrictions, Bauer and Bloom stated that IMEX America could not guarantee a high-quality, large-scale hosted buyer program to deliver exhibitors return on their investments.
  • Timing: “As industry professionals you know that a show of the scale of IMEX America doesn’t happen overnight,” they wrote in a statement. “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.”

IMEX America’s cancellation follows a slew of major industry show cancellations and postponements in 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis, including:

Will IMEX America 2020 Be a Virtual Event?

Though unclear in scope, Bauer and Bloom announced that they will continue to utilize their “PlanetIMEX” virtual platform, which launched in May, to deliver online activities in September and the months following. No further details on these offerings and how they will relate to IMEX America had been released at publication time.

At present, Bauer and Bloom expect IMEX Frankfurt and IMEX America to move forward in 2021.

“We’re optimistic that meeting face to face will play an important role in helping our economies and all the industries we serve to regenerate and recover,” they concluded. “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.”

The cancellation follows IMEX America’s record-breaking year in 2019, which shattered attendance records, clocking in at just shy of 14,000 attendees and 76,000 hosted buyer appointments booked online.

Read the full statement from IMEX Group.

Want to relive IMEX America 2019? Check out our coverage from last year’s event.