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Security tight as IMEX kicks off in Las Vegas

IMEX chairman Ray Bloom said this year’s IMEX America had come together with 'a spirit of unity'
11/10/2017

Pictured: The Sands Expo at The Venetian l The Palazzo

The largest ever IMEX America has kicked off in Las Vegas – with enhanced security following the mass shooting last week where 59 people died.


There is enhanced visible security at the entrances to the Sands, including random bag searches, and throughout the venue.


The event opened with a show of strength and speeches by some of the USA market’s major influencers but none was more cogent than that by Jim Murren, CEO of MGM Resorts, which operates the Mandalay Bay Hotel.


He said: “We are heart-broken, but not broken. I wanted to express my gratitude for you even being here. I represent 50,000 people here who work for MGM and they represented 50,000 families. Without you they don’t have a job and Imex being here at this time is beautiful and almost poetic. This one despicable and inhumane act is superceded by the thousands of acts of kindness and humanity and I have never been more proud than I am today because of the way we have tried to help one another. We are heartbroken but we are not broken." 


Adding, "The meetings and conventions business is the backbone of this business model for Las Vegas and I have been humbled and inspired by the courage and kindness of the whole community."


Ray Bloom, chairman of the IMEX Group, said this year’s IMEX America had come together with a spirit of unity in the face of many serious challenges that several communities are facing around the world, most recently in Las Vegas itself.


He said: “During the months, even the week, leading up to IMEX America, it has been so very sad to see the devastation caused by natural disasters in the US, the Caribbean, Mexico and the tragic loss of life in one of our second homes, Las Vegas.


“At the same time, it has been inspiring to see the resilience of those communities and the supportive fellowship of the industry’s response to those whose regions and cities are now faced with rebuilding - both physically and emotionally.


“There is also a great willingness to contribute financially to help the victims of these tragedies and many people have asked us how best they can help. We’d like to encourage the industry to join us in contributing to the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund and to the American Red Cross.


“Our industry has rallied in extraordinary ways recently. It has an ability to come together with determination and resourcefulness unlike any other. Importantly it also has the power to pull destinations out of crisis; events and meetings are vital sources of regeneration, re-inspiration and renewal.”


As a mark of respect, there was a moment of silence observed by hundreds of members of the industry before the first MPI keynote at the show.


With more than 3,300 exhibitors from more than 150 countries and a major expansion of its Inspiration Hub education centre, this year is the largest ever IMEX America. This year 58 booths - 20 per cent of returning exhibitors - have booked larger spaces while there are also 500 new exhibiting companies and 64 new booths. Visit England is one of the exhibitors that has booked a larger booth.


Africa and the Middle East have both grown significantly this year (31 per cent), as a result of Abu Dhabi and Rwanda Convention Bureau exhibiting for the first time. Four new exhibitors including Viking Cruises and three expanded booths have resulted in the cruise lines area increasing by 28 per cent. 

  • Ameer Hamza 13/10/2017

    With more than 3,300 exhibitors from more than 150 countries and a major expansion of its Inspiration Hub education centre, this year is the largest ever IMEX America. This year 58 booths - 20 per cent of returning exhibitors - have booked larger spaces while there are also 500 new exhibiting companies and 64 new booths. Visit England is one of the exhibitors that has booked a larger booth. Done 👍


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