Destinations and policy makers unite to challenge wishful thinking and comfortable consensus at Imex Policy Forum.

Natasha Richards, Head of Advocacy & Industry Relations at the Imex Group, explains how the crucial, often challenging, dialogue between the industry and policymakers is the key driver behind maintaining the sector’s relevancy and success. These critical conversations lie at the heart of the Imex Policy Forum. “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 sceptical policymakers and experts who will challenge our assumptions and stretch us to find unexpected solutions.”

On Tuesday, 23 May, the first day of Imex Frankfurt, the Policy Forum brings together policymakers, destination representatives, business events association executives and other thought-leaders for a half-day of intensive, perspective-challenging discussion.

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

The Forum aims to create a roadmap that benefits and unites policymakers 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.

Dedicated discussions for local and national policymakers

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 for local, municipal and city policymakers, 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 policymakers 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).