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Free IMEX Policy Forum summary report released

What is the biggest challenge for the meetings and events industry? How can an event leave a positive legacy? How can the industry balance concerns around globalisation with local concerns? How can the industry achieve sustainability and support city resilience?

These were all questions discussed by a panel of industry leaders during the Open Forum that concluded this year’s IMEX Policy Forum in Frankfurt in May.

Formerly known as the IMEX Politicians Forum, the event brought together 30 politicians and policy makers to meet with 80 industry leaders and debate issues under the overall theme of ‘The Legacy of Positive Policy Making’.

Their opinions and conclusions on these issues and other major topics are revealed by a summary report by Rod Cameron, executive director of the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC) that is now available to download for free.


The report captures the many key points raised and advice shared during all the wide-ranging discussions, and highlights many insights that should prove valuable to politicians, policy makers and industry executives working for national and regional organisations worldwide.

National meeting strategy

The creation of a national meeting strategy was the focus of a discussion in the opening session for national government representatives. Delegates recognised the need for an integrated approach to optimise synergies and avoid conflict with policy and regulation together with the overarching importance of consultation with local government. They also commented on the need to recognise and acknowledge the social importance of medical meetings and events and, frequently, their knowledge transfer.

A popular workshop covered in the summary is on the topic of ‘The Evolution of Cities in the Meetings Industry’.

A thought-provoking opening presentation by professor Greg Clark included the view that the relationship between cities and the industry evolves in cycles or phases that are catalysed by relevant developments or major events. Six major cities – Sydney, Singapore, Dubai, Tel Aviv, Cape Town and Barcelona – then presented, showing the evolution of their meetings business. The report summarises all these presentations.

Another presentation introducing the Open Forum, byGloria Guevara Manzo, [resident & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council, focussed on the top three challenges facing the travel and tourism industry, based on worldwide research. 

On security and safety she highlighted how the industry has great potential for growth if it can overcome issues such as this by greater collaboration and the use of biometrics. Another of the likely inhibitors to growth is the increasing occurrence of travel sector crises whose impacts can be reduced through greater crisis preparation. Finally, she highlighted sustainability and the need for a private, public, community approach to development.

Professor Clark also said he thought the meetings industry was more akin to financial services or academia than tourism in that it functions as a broad enabler of business. He said it is seen as too bound up in tourism and instead needs to better define its own story and tell it clearly, highlighting its benefits, leveraging events such as Davos and showing positive impacts through good case studies. 

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX described the quality of content and debate as “first class”.

“The IMEX Policy Forum continues to drive the industry forward, building its reputation in government as a powerful catalyst for economic development,” Bauer added.

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