From destination and venue updates to industry state of affairs, BEAM rounds up key takeaways from AIME 2023.

The Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) celebrated its 30th year from 13-15 February 2023, welcoming more than 400 hosted buyers, 350 exhibitors and 2,000 visitors to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC).

With 25 countries represented at AIME and 12,000 pre-scheduled meetings, the show floor was a hive of activity. New event features included: The Accor Hosted Buyers Lounge, a ‘Tech’ area, and a Wellness Café. An enormous kangaroo and a special anniversary lanyard featuring First Nations’ artwork designed by First Nation creative agency Little Rocket, were some of the ‘touches of Australia’ that delegates were treated to.

Watch the video below to soak in the vibes!

The eagerly anticipated Welcome Event, produced by Peter Jones Special Events, featured entertainment that paid homage to AIME’s legacy. Held at Marvel Stadium – one of the world’s largest sporting and music event venues – the milestone event took on a state-of-the-art pearl theme, which was mirrored in a directional menu curated by Victorian producers, Delaware North.

The highlight of the evening was the joint effort by all attendees to form the numerals three and zero on the greens of Marvel Stadium for a photo shoot.

AIME’s Knowledge Program included an address from Australian tennis star Jelena Dokic, as well as a mix of industry business leaders and renowned professionals as keynote speakers who shared their knowledge and experience.

Dominating the view as delegates entered the show floor was New Zealand’s Pavilion, while Japan appeared to be the largest representative, with stands dedicated to Tokyo, Kobe, Sapporo and other destinations. The Victoria Precinct, comprised of 43 exhibitors representing suppliers across the Australian state, occupied the largest space on the show floor and included the two-tier Melbourne, Victoria Stand.

Malaysia strengthened its presence in its 11th year of participation at the trade show. The Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) led an eight-partner contingent to this year’s AIME in hopes of building upon the 190 international and regional conventions it has already secured until 2030 as a result of working with affiliates while raising the country’s profile globally.

Sustainability remains front and centre for most exhibitors during the press conference.

Sarah Derry, CEO of Accor Pacific, shared during the media presentation that building and retaining loyalty is critical to bouncing back from tough times, adding that small to medium-sized events are just as important in bringing back business events. Sustainability and diversity continue to be key focuses in their operations and in creating the Accor experience. Accor has partnered with MyPlanet to allow meeting planners to offset carbon emissions during the event. Derry also shared that the low flight frequency from China is felt in the slow return of international visitors but is predicted to go up by Q3.

Samantha Glass, Director of Communication, Corporate Affairs and Social Responsibility at ICC Sydney, talked about the convention centre’s Legacy Program, which focuses on five streams, including Australia’s First Nations. It offers connections to local First Nations businesses so that visitors can pay their respects, and event planners can provide a rich cultural experience for delegates through aboriginal activities, tours and performances including speech, song, dance, or a smoking ceremony.

For ChristchurchNZ, Head of Business Events Megan Crum said the destination’s guiding principle is ‘Small Footprint – Big Impression’. “Among the many actions underway for the business events space this year will be delivering a comprehensive Business Events Sustainability Framework for Christchurch, doing our bit to help achieve the target to halve the city’s emissions by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2045,” she said.

To assist the Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre in its journey to CarbonZero, Toitū Envirocare was enlisted to provide guidance and support through their Toitū carbon programmes, which are the only ones in New Zealand certified under the ISO 14064 standard (organisation) and ISO 14067 standard (product) by the JAS-ANZ (Joint Accreditation System for Australia and New Zealand).

“From humble beginnings with only domestic destinations and local suppliers to becoming the flagship trade show for the APAC region, AIME has blossomed over the years. The last time we were here, the world was still tentative, emerging cautiously from an extraordinarily testing time. Whilst the business events industry has bounced back strongly, the need to future-safe and inspire events of the future has brought with it an unprecedented workload. For many of us, this has been our biggest year yet,” said Talk2 Media & Events CEO Matt Pearce at the official press conference held at THE LUME, Melbourne.

“AIME enables new and valuable connections to drive commerce not just for Victoria, but for the wider Asia Pacific Region.” “At the Melbourne Convention Bureau, we are proud of the achievements in bringing AIME to you for three decades, and this is the fifth year in partnership with Talk2 Media & Events.” “At the core, we are about business events and providing the best access to key decision-makers and the people who make it all happen. AIME has proven itself as an essential platform for this,” said Melbourne Convention Bureau CEO Julia Swanson.

AIME is the leading trade event for the meetings and event industry in the Asia Pacific region. It is where industry decision-makers connect, create, and do business. AIME brings together international and local buyers to access the best exhibitors from around the world. The event is owned by the Melbourne Convention Bureau and managed by Talk2 Media & Events.

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