The events industry globally is rapidly being recognised as a professional career. Hotels and country houses always saw it as an essential source of business; then municipalities recognised the contribution it could make and gave more attention to creating facilities such as conference centres. Then governments, especially of smaller nations, saw that it was one of the ways in which revenue could be generated rapidly.
Now, young people are aware of the opportunities it offers and they are seeking qualifications in increasing numbers to prove they have what it takes to organise events of every kind.
One person who is able to see the whole picture of the MICE sector in detail is Carina Bauer. She is the CEO of IMEX Exhibitions and she says that with the IMEX in Frankfurt event in May and IMEX America in Las Vegas in October, they are perfectly timed to interact with each other, gaining and sharing experience and knowhow on both sides of the Atlantic.
Carina comments: ‘It is noticeable how Ministers of Economy are now attending IMEX exhibitions and becoming involved in the events industry, not just Ministers of Tourism.
‘We recognise the valuable impact that events have in so many ways and so this year in Frankfurt we are putting special emphasis on what we are calling Legacy. When an event has been held in a location and then the delegates and speakers have gone, what benefits remain as a result? Those benefits are so significant, that we are able to list them under five distinct headings. These are: Political, Knowledge and Social Impact, CSR, Environment and Personal.’
Carina is able to give instances in all these areas to explain their significance. She quotes how a cardiology conference has encouraged whole communities to monitor their fitness and take better care of their hearts; and a similar effect has been created after a gathering of experts on diabetes.
Agricultural events have stimulated organisations and individuals to investigate cash crops to be substituted for illegal and harmful produce, whilst others, like AfrikaBurn, have proved how large gatherings can be held without leaving any subsequent footprint to interfere with the local environment. Virtually all events open the eyes of young people locally to new ideas in areas they had previously not considered.
‘This year’s IMEX in Frankfurt’, Carina continues, ‘will be the 16th and the biggest yet. However, it will be the most socially responsible. We will eliminate literally tons of plastic that would previously have been required. One way is the provision of water stations to allow delegates to re-fill their own containers.’
IMEX has always seen itself as a source of education for MICE professionals, but Carina points out that the opportunities will be even greater this year.
‘EduMonday, 14th May 2018, is again a whole day dedicated to training and discussion sessions in English and German, held before the exhibition opens on Tuesday. This means that everyone - delegates, students and even exhibitors - can attend to hone their professional skills without interfering with their programmes at the exhibition itself.
‘All sessions are free to attend and cover many aspects of the events sector, including communication skills, social networking technology, event administration and data management. There are special sessions on the roles that women are now playing in the events and other sectors and discussions on security and innovations for the future.’
Carina is keen to add an extra comment at the end of our interview. ‘Your ITCM blogger, John Fisher, wrote a provocative piece about Hosted Buyers’, she says. ‘Whilst agreeing with many of the points he made as to how badly that side of things can be set up, I would like to stress that they don’t apply to the way we treat our Hosted Buyers at IMEX. We ensure that they are the ones who choose what they personally want to do and who they want to see’.
For full details of IMEX in Frankfurt and Registration, visit https://www.imex-frankfurt.com