“There is now growing awareness among the wider business community of the importance of meetings and events. In recent years national and local governments have begun to appreciate the valuable role they play in developing knowledge economies and acting as a catalyst for innovation in addition to the recognised direct benefits from business tourism,” explains Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group.

This forms the basis of discussion at the Policy Forum, taking place on the first day of IMEX in Frankfurt this May, which brings together the meetings and events industry with key policy decision makers in order to inform and influence strategy. This unique high-level event held each year brings together up to 40 policy makers, including national and regional government ministers, mayors, city government officials and political influencers with around 80 leading representatives of the meetings industry. They meet to exchange knowledge and best practice on how to make the most of the wide-ranging benefits that investment in conferences and meetings can bring, from income and employment to inward investment, education, scientific and cultural advancement.

Carina adds: “Governments, regions and cities have a huge amount to gain from embracing the meetings industry and we want the Policy Forum to continue to play a major role in fostering the partnership between the meetings industry and destinations.”

The theme of this year’s Policy Forum is the Legacy of Positive Policy Making. The Forum agenda has been designed to facilitate collaborative global discussion on how to bridge the “partnership gap” that exists between government policy and support of the meetings industry. IMEX is delighted to once again be collaborating with Professor Greg Clark, CBE, Chairman of The Business of Cities, on the programme which includes a new workshop session exploring the evolution of cities in the meetings industry – designed specifically for city, municipal and regional policy makers and destination representatives. Current hot topics such as over-tourism, political instability, security, climate change, and the creation of innovation and knowledge hubs will also feature on the Forum’s agenda.

The Forum launched in 2003 and has established itself as a crucial connection point for the meetings world and public policymakers. Over the years it has proved to be a major catalyst in advancing the understanding of the critical role that the meetings industry plays in many aspects of national and regional development. Organisations which have attended in recent years include the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Iceland; Ministry for Trade, Tourism and Major Events, New South Wales; Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Ukraine; the Japan National Tourism Organisation; the Prime Minister’s Office in Tanzania and a Member of Parliament from Sweden.

The IMEX Policy Forum takes place on Tuesday 15 May 2018, the first day of IMEX in Frankfurt, at the InterContinental Hotel.

IMEX in Frankfurt 2018 is held at Messe Frankfurt from 15 -17 May 2018 and is set to welcome thousands of meeting and event planners from all over the world gather to meet and do business with almost 3,500 international destinations and venues under one roof.

Meeting and event professionals can also discover the latest trends and developments in more than 180 education sessions, forge new industry connections and catch up with colleagues at the many networking events.


Carina Bauer will take part in a Business Events Debate at the Business Events Leaders’ Summit on March 21 at the SEC in Glasgow.