Where does one go to learn “50 things to do in Guam”?
In Las Vegas, the place to go last week was the Sands Expo & Convention Center and an event called “IMEX America”.
IMEX America invites meeting and event professionals to explore themes such as “Purposeful Meetings” and “Event Tech” and to meet with 3200 exhibitors from 130 countries, all ready to host meetings or incentive travel. Attendance at IMEX America is somewhat elusive in that almost as many exhibitors are on hand as are attendees. Before the show I read attendance estimates from 2,000 to 12,000. I tend to think an estimate I received at the show of about 14,000 (combined exhibitors and attendees) is correct. We’ll see after the show which figure is correct. The show is owned by a company from England that hosts similar shows throughout the world.
I had never attended IMEX America in the past, although the event has been held in Las Vegas for six years. I was, therefore, astounded at just how many countries, cities and places were part of this show. And yes, Guam had a booth and distributed a colorful brochure called “50 things to do in Guam”.
A number of programs were offered IMEX America attendees such as a Young Leaders Conference, an Executive Meeting Forum, an Association Leadership forum, a Faculty Engagement Program and a number of fun, social events such as a 5K run down the Las Vegas Strip and even a talent show. A number of private social events were associated with the show as well.
As this year’s IMEX America event was being launched, an announcement was made by Ray Bloom, Chairman, IMEX Group, that starting in 2021, the IMEX America show would be moving to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
Meanwhile in the Las Vegas exhibit at IMEX America 2017, the Vegas Strong sign had already become part of its exhibit.
PS: Noting the value of conventions and meetings in a destination, here are some statistics from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority about Las Vegas as a convention and meetings destination:
“Convention and meeting attendance increased 7.1 percent in 2016 to a record 6.3 million. This segment alone directly supported an estimated 54,800 jobs paying $2.3 billion in wages and salaries. Including indirect and induced impacts, convention travelers supported 85,000 jobs, $3.5 billion in wages and salaries paid, and $12.4 billion in total economic output. The Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), which hosted 22 percent of convention attendees travelling to southern Nevada, directly supported an estimated 11,800 jobs paying $495 million in wages and salaries. Including indirect and induced impacts, LVCC attendees generated $2.7 billion in economic output throughout the local economy.”