Uncomfortable conversations - destination and policy makers unite to challenge wishful thinking and comfortable consensus at IMEX Policy Forum

11 May 2023

“To ensure future success for our sector, we need to chart a path where we can survive and thrive. To do this, we need to start holding uncomfortable conversations, not only with the usual suspects, our industry colleagues and clients, but with sceptical policy makers and with experts who will challenge our assumptions and stretch us to find unexpected solutions!”

Natasha Richards, Head of Advocacy & Industry Relations at the IMEX Group, explains how the crucial – often challenging – dialogue between the industry and policy makers is the key driver behind maintaining the sector’s relevancy and success. It’s these critical conversations that lie at the heart of the IMEX Policy Forum.

Taking place on Tuesday 23 May, the first day of IMEX Frankfurt, the Policy Forum brings together policy makers, destination representatives, business events association executives and other thought-leaders for a half-day of intensive, perspective-challenging discussion.

Over 30 global destinations have already confirmed their interest in participating in this year’s Forum along with significant interest from policy makers. These include representatives at national, regional and city level from destinations across Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific and Africa.

The Forum aims to create a roadmap that benefits and unites both policy makers and industry leaders; to help set the agenda for future high-level conversations and in-depth research and to help build better partnerships and understanding of the value, relevance and impact of business events.

Policy Forum, IMEX Frankfurt.

Discussions at the Policy Forum IMEX Frankfurt

Dedicated discussions for local and national policy makers

With the emphasis on active discussion and input from all, the Policy Forum hosts two concurrent peer-to-peer discussion groups prior to the Open Forum. One is a workshop designed for local, municipal and city policy makers, facilitated by Professor Greg Clark CBE, Global Urbanist and leading advisor on cities and businesses. The other session brings together national government ministers and representatives of travel and tourism and economic affairs to discuss the national agenda, chaired by Martin Sirk, from Sirk Serendipity and Geneviève Leclerc, President and CEO, #MEET4IMPACT.

The Open Forum, moderated by Jane Cunningham, Director of European Engagement for Destinations International, sees destination representatives and business events leaders join policy makers for interactive round table discussions. These discussions will draw on innovative case studies, research studies and whitepapers, bringing everyone together to debate different viewpoints and challenge perspectives.

Natasha Richards continues: “The aim of the Forum is simple – to identify and build consensus on the most critical advocacy issues. We encourage all destinations participating at IMEX Frankfurt to invite their local, regional or national policy maker to the show. It’s crucial that these conversations take place and that key decision makers experience first-hand the full breadth and clout of our marketplace.”

The IMEX Policy Forum is organised in collaboration with City Destinations Alliance (City DNA), the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), the International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC), Meetings Mean Business Coalition, Destinations International, the Iceberg and German Convention Bureau, under the auspices of the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC) and Events Industry Council (EIC).

For further details visit: www.imex-frankfurt.com/policy-forum or contact our team: [email protected]

IMEX Frankfurt takes place 23 – 25 May 2023. To register click here.

For further press information, please contact Emma Blake: [email protected]


Notes to editors

IMEX Frankfurt will take place at Messe Frankfurt from 23 to 25 May 2023.

The show ranks in the top 20% of global trade shows surveyed in Explori with a Net Promoter Score of 94/100.

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