AIME 2024 wraps up, anticipates substantial business growth

Fun and colour were some of the themes at AIME 2024. Photo: Adelaine Ng

The 2024 Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) has concluded in Melbourne, with organisers declaring it a resounding success and setting their sights on higher business results than last year’s show.

This year’s edition saw more than 600 international buyers and 570 exhibitors (up 63 per cent and 51 per cent respectively year-on-year), and featured a larger show floor, new zones for Destination Management Companies and boutique accommodation, which saw a rapid uptake with 30 stands booked.

Fun and colour were some of the themes at AIME 2024. Photo: Adelaine Ng

The technology zone also doubled in size from last year and for the first time, a podcast booth was featured on the show floor, for post-event engagement. The Accelerate programme – aimed at nurturing an upcoming generation of event planners – was also launched, and the AIME Rockets initiative allowed 30 budding professionals to gain invaluable industry insights and connections.

According to AIME’s event director Silke Calder, the event drew rave reviews from delegates for its insightful Knowledge Program and neon-themed Welcome Event at Grazeland, celebrating Melbourne’s vibrant street food scene.

“They were blown away by the programme we put together for the first day, especially the first-time visitors. Our partnership with (brand experience company) BEAM was very fruitful and we managed to get the right topic and speakers,” Calder told TTGmice.

Calder believes AIME is well-positioned to surpass last year’s record of A$200 million (US$131 million) in deals inked. “I’d love to see us hit A$300 million this time around,” she said.

“It feels like we are definitely back. The interest we observe from countries, not only within the Asia-Pacific but also from those outside seeking to participate, is enormous,” she added.

Julia Swanson, CEO of Melbourne Convention Bureau, shared Calder’s optimism.

“Business is looking strong. The association market is back and they are extending their booking window. International business (events are also) definitely back and people are not looking one or two years ahead, but five to eight years ahead again, which is fantastic,” she said.

Swanson also highlighted the complete recovery of Melbourne’s aviation sector, emphasising the establishment of new routes to countries like Vietnam and India, which have contributed to improved connectivity.

Vinsensius Jemadu, Indonesia’s deputy minister for tourism products and events, told TTGmice that participating in AIME has been strategic for his country.

“Our arrivals from Australia last year hit a record 1.4 million, bettering pre-Covid numbers. This year, we doubled the size of our pavilion to 54m² with 12 products represented. We are looking to expand it next year to have 20 products,” he said.

“The best part about AIME has been the strength of its database and I had a comprehensive discussion with AIME’s organisers about their matching system linking the network with our sellers. We were impressed by the quality of the buyers,” Vinsensius added.

First-time exhibitor Shane Thantirimudalige, managing director of Sri Lankan DMC Beyondary, said he would wait to see if his meetings translate into bookings in the coming months before deciding whether participating in AIME has been worthwhile.

“We had a good year from Australia last year, with all 80 tours highly successful. So when AIME reached out to us, we wanted to see how we could increase the volume of visitors, because I think there is huge potential,” he said.

“But I wish we had a better stand position (instead of being right on the edge of the showfloor) for better exposure.”

Next year’s AIME has been slated to take place from February 10-12, 2025.

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