There will be dedicated zones for boutique businesses that serve the events industry and destination management companies (DMCs) who specialise in particular regions around the world.
‘The Boutique’ area will have space for the likes of small wineries and luxury venues and other ‘boutique experience makers’.
The DMC Network will provide a physical focal point on the show floor for DMCs to drum up new business, as well as giving local and international buyers a place to receive another layer of destination knowledge from those who know it best.
Talk2Media says the new zones will bring several first-time exhibitors into the fold for AIME 2024.
When hosted buyer applications opened last month, Talk2Media and Events, which organises the event on behalf of its owners, Melbourne Convention Bureau, confirmed the show floor would expand by two bays in 2024, which makes these new areas possible.
The event’s organisers also confirmed Accor would sponsor the Hosted Buyer Lounge for a second year, indicating the success of the partnership in 2023, which was the first time the networking space boasted a naming rights sponsor.
Dedicated spaces for spontaneous meetings on the show floor have also been promised for 2024, to increase the connections for all attendees.
With hosted buyer applications well underway – buyers can apply up until December 8 – visitor registrations to attend AIME in 2024 will open next month, for buyers and suppliers wishing to come to the show on a less structured basis.
AIME’s event director says there will be a significant increase in hosted buyers at the show in 2024.
“We expect to host more than 500 hosted buyers – an increase of 25 per cent on the number of hosted buyers in 2023.
“We will host around 150 international buyers from New Zealand, Europe, UK, South-East Asia, North Asia, India, USA and Canada.
“We expect more than 400 exhibitors and 3,500 visitors will attend AIME in Melbourne next February. Exhibitors are already confirmed from companies and suppliers from every Australian state as well as international destinations including Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore and more.
“With more than 85 per cent of the show floor already sold, AIME 2024 promises to be the biggest event yet,” she said.
AIMEbassadors have also been unveiled for 2024, a collection of industry leaders who influence the industry and advocate for its growth. The list continues to be a who’s who of mostly local names – this year it comprises El Kwang, founder of BEAM, Paula Rowntree, head of external engagement at the Australian Psychological Society and founder of The Business Events Network, Mike Williams, senior partner and consultant at GainingEdge, Leanne Zeid, IHG Hotels and Resorts’ director of groups and meetings and regional sales for Australasia, and Maggie Diasinos, account director at MCI Australia.