GLOBAL With a marked increase in US buyers hosting events in Asia, the Americas Incentives, Business Travel & Meetings Expo (AIBTM) this June will be shifting more attention to Asian exhibitors, exhibition director Mike Lyons told micenet ASIA.

The three-day tradeshow to be held at the McCormick Place in Chicago will see a new market-focused networking session on Asia, which has been designed to allow hosted US buyers an opportunity to meet with key suppliers from the Asian meetings market.

These suppliers will also be able to “showcase their products to buyers who have specified a direct interest in placing business in these regions”.

High travel costs remain a key barrier for US buyers deciding to host events in Asia, Mr Lyons said, especially due to the lack of direct flights.

“However, there are currently daily direct flights available between Chicago and Beijing, Delhi, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo, making business between the two regions more accessible.”

The content shift at AIBTM is on the back of research conducted by Reed Travel Exhibitions. 23 per cent of buyers who attended AIBTM reported hosting events in Asia, with a marked increase in the demand for Asian exhibitors this year.

American Express Meetings and Events’ 2013 forecast also predicted that meetings in the region are expected to increase by an average of 5 per cent, while two-thirds of Asia-based respondents estimated bigger budgets this year to meet the demand for more, larger and longer meetings.

“These figures are really positive and show that the meetings industry in Asia is thriving. American buyers who have seen this growth have expressed interest in finding out more information about future business opportunities in this region,” Mr Lyons said.