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Legacy in Focus

At the Imex in Frankfurt, industry exhibitors and players presented impressive projects which highlight the responsibility of events – and made a lasting impression.

his year's Imex in Frankfurt had defined 'Legacy' as its Talking Point and had encouraged businesses to give thought to the significance and role of the meeting industry. They were urged to share these thoughts at the new 'Legacy Wall' built at the trade show. The extensive range of submitted themes illustrates the large variety of directions in which events have an impact.

Sustainability, for example, is the No.1 priority for the Hawaii Convention Center (HCC). It is in fact so important that the center committed itself jointly with the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative to plant one million trees in the US state of Hawaii. "In these efforts, we're being supported by our customers," said Director of Business Development David Blangy. "The American Dental Association alone has just pledged to plant 10,000 trees. If we could manage to do that with every customer, you can imagine what that would do to the carbon footprint of our events."

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Visitors and exhibitors of the Imex shared stories and comments on 'Responsibility' at the 'Legacy Wall'.

Patrizia Buongiorno, Vice President AIM Group International, presented a very particular form of cooperation between her agency and SIAARTI, the Italian Society of Anesthesia, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care. SIAARTI has dispatched 150 young members for field research to the Isle of Lampedusa to provide humanitarian aid to the refugees arriving there by boat. In cooperation with SIAARTI, the AIM Group set up an emergency scenario with real-life exercises and also provided the entire meeting infrastructure. "That was really an extraordinary experience for us," said Buongiorno.

Miha Kovacic remembers a project back in 2012 as "one of the best experiences in my life". In context with that year's Imex Challenge, he had headed the Slovenian Convention Bureau's initiative to establish a large-sized bee colony. But this is not only about producing honey. "Children with mental or physical disorders come here for an apitherapy. After we had completed the project at that time and were able to watch the children, all those involved in the project were moved to tears." The list of positive examples is almost endless.

The Imex itself had also chosen 'Legacy" as keynote for its Policy Forum. "The Legacy of Positive Policy Making" was the guiding theme of the former Politicians Forum, which is aimed at fostering dialogue between the global meeting industry and politics. Ray Bloom, Chairman Imex Group, was delighted with the initiative: "Imex has for many years been bringing together the meeting world and political deciders – all this has contributed to increasing awareness of how we can jointly spur economic growth. Over the years, we've seen some real progress. That is our 'Legacy' in political terms."  CHRISTIAN FUNK