“We will meet again and, like you, we can’t wait for that moment to come.” That hopeful note was the final line of the announcement from IMEX Group’s Carina Bauer and Ray Bloom that IMEX America 2020 is canceled. The fall show, which would have celebrated 10 years in Las Vegas this year, is one of the biggest meeting and convention industry events to be wiped off the calendar as a result of COVID-19.
The cancellation was largely due to uncertainty around continuing corporate travel bans and international travel restrictions. These travel curbs would impact the show’s hosted-buyer program, which is critically important to exhibitors, and put attendance for many others in question as well. A third of IMEX America’s more than 13,000 exhibitors and buyers are from outside North America.
Bauer and Bloom also noted that it was important to make the decision at this point, about three months before the event, “a time when we’re still able to reduce the risk and exposure for our exhibitors, partners, and suppliers.”
IMEX Group launched PlanetIMEX, an online portal for education and networking, this spring after IMEX in Frankfurt, Germany, had to be canceled. The IMEX team plans to continue to develop content for the platform “in September and beyond.”
The 2021 IMEX America is scheduled for November 9-11 at Mandalay Bay Convention Center and Casino. It will be the first year the show relocates from Sands Expo and Convention Center. The event is booked at Mandalay Bay through 2025.
The news about IMEX America follows cancellations of other major meetings industry events, including IBTM Americas, scheduled for August 26-27 in Mexico City, and Meeting Professionals International’s World Education Congress, scheduled for June 6-9. Reed Exhibitions Mexico plans to hold its next face-to-face edition of IBTM America’s May 19-20, 2021, and MPI is expecting to run the World Education Congress from November 3-6 as a hybrid event, with a live component in Grapevine, Texas.