The IMEX Wild Card programme offers aspiring entrants into the international meetings market the chance to exhibit free of charge alongside established destinations and other suppliers. Winners exhibit on a dedicated Wild Card Pavilion and receive widespread publicity, social media and other marketing support as a result. History shows that IMEX Wild Card winners frequently go on to establish a successful presence in the global meetings industry, especially where they use IMEX as part of a concerted and sustained effort to generate new business or new funding. Previous Wild Card winners over the years have included El Salvador, Budva, Mongolia, Poznan and Uganda.
For the second consecutive year, both winners will benefit from a new business support package, provided by specialist business events consultancy, GainingEdge. The company has committed to providing each winner with advice on how to maximise return from the IMEX prescheduled appointment system, detailed sales and marketing training as well as help on how to make the most of international trade show participation.
To be eligible for a free exhibition place, Wild Card entrants must justify their potential either as a meetings and incentive travel destination or a new convention and conference centre. They are also expected to demonstrate sufficient infrastructure and skill to support their ambition to flourish within the global meetings and incentive travel market. Importantly they must never have exhibited at an international trade show in the past.
Ryoko Baba, International Relations Coordinator, Fukuoka Convention & Visitors Bureau commented: “We are very excited to make the first appearance at IMEX as a Wild Card winner; there is no better way to commend Fukuoka as a rising Japanese destination to the international MICE industry. Fukuoka is often described as a well-hidden gem and is enjoying rapid growth in demand for the facilitation of international events. To create an atmosphere of city-wide welcome, the convention bureau and the government try to involve the citizens in MICE events, an approach which has so far gone well.
“Taking advantage of being the closest Japanese metropolis to Asia, we have been successful with the conventions which expect more participants from the Asia-pacific region. Our growth plans will now start with joining ICCA and appearing at IMEX. We will also target conventions relevant to made-in-Japan technologies such as videogames, beauty products and robots, as well as sports events, which Fukuoka is prominent for,” says Baba.
Art Boncato, Regional Director at Department of Tourism Davao, Philippines commented: “Davao City is extremely delighted to have been selected as one of two Wild Card Stand winners at IMEX in Frankfurt this year. It is a rare opportunity for our destination to be given attention on the global MICE stage. This opportunity would definitely firm up our mission to work very hard in making Davao City a serious MICE player.”