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Wild Cards reflect on recent participation at IMEX

The two destinations who were picked as the IMEX Wild Card winners this year – Davao City, Philippines and Fukuoka, Japan – were enthusiastic about their recent participation as Wild Cards at this international trade show.

The IMEX Wild Card programme offers new venues or new meetings and incentive destinations the chance to exhibit free of charge at IMEX. Winners exhibit on a dedicated Wild Card Pavilion and participate in the pre-scheduled appointments with qualified buyers, groups and media personnel meeting them. They are also guests at IMEX’s Gala Dinner. Previous Wild Card winners have included El Salvador, Budva, Mongolia, Poznan and Uganda.

In the last 2 years, global business events consultancy GainingEdge has teamed up with IMEX to offer free pre-show and on-site support to Wild Card winners so that these organisations can maximize their participation. These have included support for El Salvador, Fukuoka, Sendai (both Japan) and Davao City (Philippines) as they made their international debut at IMEX.

GainingEdge’s support includes training on how to work international trade shows, advice on pre-scheduled appointments with buyers, pre-show/post show press release, review of show collaterals and buyers’ presentation, end of show debrief and tips on post show reporting.

Mr Ryoji Maeshima, Senior Deputy Director, Business Events of Fukuoka Convention & Visitors Bureau who was part of the Fukuoka team to IMEX said: "The IMEX Wildcard offered comprehensive benefits to Fukuoka Convention and Visitors Bureau. As a newcomer to the international meetings industry, we were exposed to not only business opportunities brought by high quality buyers, but also had the opportunity to meet global colleagues.”

Mr Art P Boncato, Jr, Regional Director of Department of Tourism Davao City agreed:  "The Wild Card Stand Competition proved very beneficial as well as an eye opener for Davao about the immense potential of getting great leads as well as onsite business from the huge set of corporate and association buyers. What is most important is realizing that this show is a buyer-driven one and there is clearly no spillage or waste on time spent for appointments as essential interest in exhibiting destinations and services are already established even before the actual meet up."

In addition to supporting the Wild Cards, GainingEdge also organised its inaugural GainingConnections Dinner and its 3rd edition of GainingLeads which saw a total of 14 leads being exchanged. Mr Maeshima and his colleague Ms Mikiko Yanase also attended the GainingConnections dinner which was opened to its subscribers and GainingEdge’s global clientele.

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