On the heels of its first show in Barcelona, which ended December 2, the European Incentive Business Travel and Meetings expo (EIBTM) reported a 53 percent rise in total attendance (to 5,700) compared to 2003's event in Geneva, with hosted buyer attendance up 15 percent, to over 2,400.
Once the unchallenged leader in European meetings expos, in 2004 EIBTM changed both its locale and dates (from May to November) in response to direct competition from IMEX, a new European meetings show launched in 2003 by Ray Bloom, EIBTM's founder. The strategy seems to have worked, says Michel Couturier, president of New York City destination marketing firm Marketing Challenges International. "It was like a new show altogether, and the buzz was excellent," he notes. "However, it could just be that the economy is improving—the buzz at IMEX last spring in Frankfurt was also very positive." Couturier adds that most exhibitors he spoke to said they would now attend both shows.
EIBTM's organizer, Reed Travel Exhibitions, scored more points at the show when it announced it had joined forces with Meeting Professionals International, the World Tourism Organization, and the International Congress and Convention Association to fund a global survey of the meetings industry, with results to be released this fall.