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IMEX Frankfurt cancelled

Heartfelt message from Ray Bloom and Carina Bauer shared with stakeholders overnight as Covid-19 declared a pandemic.

IMEX Group chairman, Ray Bloom, and CEO, Carina Bauer, released a heart-felt message on 11 March to announce that this year’s IMEX in Frankfurt, due to take place 12-14 May, is cancelled.

Acknowledging the ‘huge disappointment’, Bloom and Bauer said the decision was not taken lightly, and was based on two overriding concerns:

First is the uncertainty caused by the fact that the German health minister has recently called for the ban on events with over 1,000 people which some German states have already endorsed, including the state of Hesse where Frankfurt is located. This announcement makes the probability of factors outside our control forcing us to cancel the show at the last minute much higher.

Strong leadership… Ray Bloom and Carina Bauer

Second, our primary concern is always the responsibility we feel towards our exhibitors and partners, who fund the show — not only by purchasing stand space but also in the considerable additional investment they make in everything from the build of stunning stands to the hosting of buyer events.

Whilst only a short time ago we felt optimistic that May was far enough away to confidently proceed with our plans, as it stands today [11 March] we cannot guarantee the one thing that our exhibitors trust us above all else to deliver – namely a large-scale, high quality hosted buyer programme.

In an ideal world we would wait and see. But we are in the real world and we cannot, in all good conscience, ask our exhibitors to continue to invest money against which they may not get a return.

Both of these factors — uncertainty around whether IMEX will be allowed to proceed, as well as doubts as to the number of buyers who will be able to attend — have led us to the conclusion that we now have no option but to cancel IMEX in Frankfurt.

A decision based on facts

In the statement, Bloom and Bauer stressed the decision was based on “the facts as we know them today” and “the responsibility and genuine care we feel for all our clients and the global business events community”.

Despite the disappointment, IMEX Group intends to keep morale high and focus on collective efforts to rebuild confidence of the business events industry.

The group will also continue with plans to deliver IMEX America on 15-17 September, which will mark the show’s 10th anniversary.

“We thank the whole industry for the support that has been shown to us and we are here to support others in the industry as we all work through these difficult times,” they said.