Recession Ending, Not Over, IMEX America Reports

Although the recession isn't over yet, the worst of it is behind us, suggests a September survey of meeting buyers and suppliers by IMEX America, the results of which were released yesterday.

According to the survey, IMEX America's inaugural "Index of Optimism," a majority of senior travel executives say demand for meetings is growing (70 percent) and that they're attracting new sources of business (72 percent). What's more, more than half (52 percent) feel the worst of the recession is over.

Still, most say that meetings have not yet returned to pre-recession levels (51 percent) and that events are not yet increasing in size, duration or spending per delegate (47 percent).

What is increasing, however, are trends in sustainability and value, as 71 percent say meetings and events are becoming greener and 83 percent that it's becoming more important to demonstrate improved ROI.

"Those projecting a positive outlook highlight the continuing importance of face-to-face contact, argue that meetings drive business and suggest pent-up demand in the global market is now coming through," reads a statement from IMEX America. "Those who feel less certain of recovery still fear a double-dip recession, are concerned about overall negative public perceptions towards travel and note excessive government interference in this sector. Some believe that today's quieter market is set to be the 'new norm.'"