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Greg Clark at IMEX Policy Forum 2018 (Photo: IMEX Exhibitions)

The business and power of placemaking: how business events can act as a catalyst in developing inspiring locations

Policy makers from national and regional governments worldwide will explore The Business of Placemaking with leading business events industry professionals at this year’s IMEX Policy Forum.

This year the annual Forum will take place at the InterContinental Hotel Frankfurt on Tuesday 21 May, the first day of IMEX in Frankfurt 2019.

The IMEX Policy Forum, is where the business events world and public policy makers annually connect and share insights into how events such as conferences, meetings and incentive travel can make a major contribution to national and regional economies.

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The enormity of this contribution has now been quantified. According to the Global Economic Significance of Business Events, the first ever worldwide study from the Events Industry Council (EIC) and conducted by Oxford Economics, the direct spend of the meeting and event industry worldwide in 2017 was more than US$1.03 trillion, matching the consumer electronics sector in size.

Leveraging the link between business events and the innovation economy

All participants have the opportunity to visit the IMEX exhibition in the morning. In the afternoon, invited ministers and senior political representatives will take part in a national government discussion in collaboration with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) chaired by Martin Sirk of Sirk Serendipity. At the same time Professor Greg Clark CBE, the world-renowned advisor on cities will facilitate a city workshop specifically designed for local, municipal and regional policy makers and destination representatives, exploring ‘business meetings and the innovation economy.’

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Analysing the business opportunity for urban placemaking

The Business of Placemaking will be put into the spotlight when the keynote speech is presented by Dr Julie Grail, a leading expert and commentator on partnership and place management and a special adviser on Business Improvement Districts at the Institute of Place Management at Manchester Metropolitan University. Julie, who has been involved in managing places for two and a half decades, has in recent years worked on international assignments in Australia, New Zealand, South America, Europe and the United States.

New this year, the interactive Leadership Discussion will feature an invited panel who will present case studies from the perspective of political, urban planning and destinations stakeholders who have all played influential roles in placemaking success stories. The discussion will be moderated by leading business journalist and media advisor Ursula Errington and will provide plenty of opportunity for everyone present to contribute to the discussions.

Each year the political representatives who take part acclaim the event, saying how valuable it is to learn from their peers in other countries and from the meetings industry experts about the benefits to economic development and business tourism that investment in business events can bring.

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group commented; “Placemaking is a concept that’s long been understood and embraced by some city planners and developers alike but now the meetings and events industry understands the power and importance of being part of these conversations. This year’s agenda reflects what feels like a tipping point: a recognition that the business events industry can – and should – speak up to influence any city planning or placemaking decisions. This year’s Forum will guide by example and show the way. With its new format everyone can contribute fully to a lively discussion and gain valuable insights from the case studies.”