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New records in hosted buyers and total attendance for AIME 2008

Statistics just out show, AIME 2008, held in Melbourne last week, achieved a record attendance. Hosted buyer numbers have grown significantly to a record 496, up from 370 last year, a 33.8 per cent increase on the previous year. Final unaudited figures at the end of AIME 2008 were 3,268, almost 24 per cent higher than for AIME 2007.

The event itself has also grown, covering a total of 13,500 square meters this year.

Rosemarie Sama, event director, says there was an unprecedented diversity of exhibitors, 243 new exhibitors and a total of 850 exhibitors from more than 40 countries.

Staging Connections Jon Smith says the depth and breadth of the buyers has exceeded his wildest expectations.

“My first word is phenomenal. The quality of hosted buyers has been the best I have ever seen and our whole team has been amazed at the quality of all the attendees.”

Moreton Hire national sales manager Michael Bess says despite seven years of attending AIME he continues to be impressed. “The quality and volume of hosted buyers and trade visitors is outstanding and far superior to any previous year.”

Conventions and Incentives New Zealand chief executive Alan Trotter echoed those sentiments. “We find AIME a crucial vehicle to showcase our country and are continually impressed with the calibre of the attendees. I am sure we’ll be back with an even bigger stand next year.”

Tourism Australia, who returned as an exhibitor this year, found AIME the ideal forum in which to meet its objectives.

“Our goals for attending AIME by reinvesting in a presence on the floor were all met and exceeded. It was the ideal forum for us to roll-out the new brand for Business Events Australia as we were able to reach our core stakeholders and clients in targeted face-to-face business environment,” said Joyce DiMascio, head of Business Events Australia, Tourism Australia.

“The welcome reception at Docklands was a great showcase for one of Melbourne’s newest waterfront precincts – it showcased an exciting new location, creative event management and excellent catering with an outstanding opportunity to network with business contacts. It set the tone and pace for an exciting AIME,” she said.

Simon Pogmore, manager tourism development, Qantas Airways, said Qantas was once again delighted to be the major Airline Partner for AIME.

“For Qantas AIME remains the major Business Tourism event for Australia and the Asia Pacific region. AIME again delivered highly qualified and relevant buyers to the industry from Australia and overseas, providing the opportunity to enhance existing relationships and grow new business opportunities. The well-orchestrated social elements of AIME and the Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau (MCVB) offered worthwhile networking opportunities. Qantas looks forward to continuing the strong relationship with AIME and the MCVB,” he said.

South African Tourism business tourism manager Eric Baravilala says that based on this year’s event South Africa expects to have an even bigger stand at AIME 2009.

“The calibre of people coming has been very great and we’re increasingly getting more interest from our own industry who want to attend because of the calibre of the attendees.”

Dubai is another region which continues to grow its presence at AIME.

Jemima Hoile, manager of promotions for the Government of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing says its presence has grown from 50 sqm four years ago to 180 sqm in 2008.

She attributes its success at AIME to the diversity of the attendees and the well organised appointment schedule, which puts it in front of a large number of invaluable contacts.

Charles Drewe of Charles Drewe and Associates from South Africa says of the eight international shows he attends AIME’s appointment system is by far the best.

“The system is efficient and results in you not only getting a lot of appointments, but getting in front of the people you want to meet.”

AIME is organised by Reed Travel Exhibitions and owned by Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau. AIME 2009 will be held on 17-18 February.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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