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“Stupendous growth”: AIME 2024 begins

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“Stupendous growth”: AIME 2024 begins
With major growth in exhibitors and hosted buyers, the organiser of the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) is “bullish” about the expected success of this year’s show.

Addressing the media this morning, ahead of the AIME Knowledge Program this afternoon, tonight’s welcome event and the opening of the show floor tomorrow, Talk2 Media and Events’ director Matt Pearce detailed the major boost in numbers across all areas of the event in 2024. Talk2 Media organises AIME on behalf of its owner, Melbourne Convention Bureau.

“We have over 600 buyers that we are hosting at AIME. That doesn’t include the approximately 3,500 visitor buyers, suppliers and industry dignitaries who will also attend this year.

“There’s over 570 exhibitors who are on the show floor and collectively we have 33 countries represented.

“We have more exhibitors on the trade show floor this year than over the last ten years, so it’s the largest [AIME] in a decade. And, in fact, we have 200 more exhibitors than last year alone, so it’s just been a stupendous growth this year. It’s just been extraordinary.”

Last year the show had 350 exhibitors and 400 hosted buyers. At last year’s Knowledge Program, micenet put the number of attendees at over 480 – this year, around 1,200 were registered for the afternoon of professional development. Similarly, “just shy of 2,000 people” are expected at tonight’s welcome event. Last year figures were more in the realm of 1,000.

“The welcome party this evening was always going to be a bit of a challenge for us after last year,” said Pearce, referencing the 30th anniversary event in 2023 which had attendees hitting a dance floor on the turf at Marvel Stadium with Hot Dub Time Machine behind the DJ decks and plenty of pyrotechnics.

“When we were at Marvel Stadium for the function last year, that’s all that was going through my mind: this is great, what are we going to do next year?” he said.

“It’s all very well when you’ve got a milestone because you put a little bit more behind it. Expectations don’t get lower just because…now it’s the 31st birthday not the 30th.

“It’s actually a real challenge to find a venue that’s suitably different. It was a task for us – and Melbourne actually – to find a suitable venue. And of course, it was one Melbourne was up to.

“We look forward to surprising and delighting everyone tonight in a very different part of Melbourne that is sure to give you a completely different perspective of our city.

“The welcome party is challenge for us every year and in many ways it represents what our constituents, our event planners, face every day in their jobs – finding new and exciting spaces to work with.”

Pearce also flagged two other new initiatives for 2024 – aside from the new boutique and DMC zones already announced – the show’s accelerator program, which nurtures newer industry talent and that AIME had joined the global Net Zero Carbon Events initiative.

“This year we introduce a new Accelerate program to foster the growth in the younger generation of event planners. The program has been really, really well received and we’re delighted that we will have 30 AIME ‘rockets’, as we’re calling them,” he said.

“The AIME rockets will shadow their managers and connect with the industry at a much deeper level.

“The other thing that is very close to our hearts and is being taken very seriously, rightly so, across the world is sustainability. We are doing our own bit. We work very closely with the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. They have a very strong sustainability program and this year, for example, we have no printed material at all. Everything’s being produced on the app and we’ve encouraged our exhibitors to follow suit,” he said. In lieu of printed floor plans, there will be digital guides around the show floor.  

“It’s really important for us to live and breathe sustainability,” he said.

This year, First Peoples’ art has also been incorporated into AIME’s branding.

The AIME welcome event takes place this evening at Grazeland, in Melbourne’s inner western suburb of Spotswood.

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