Politicians Forum

 Home Page Image 2016

IMEX 2016 Politicians Forum

For more than a decade, the Politicians Forum at IMEX has provided the only high-level event to bring together industry leaders with representatives of governments and government agencies. Government understanding and support is critical to the advancement of the meetings and events industry.

While the Forum programme and content have evolved, the one constant has been using the power of knowledge exchange to encourage a better appreciation of the benefits the meetings industry delivers to engaged destinations.

 UNWTO Affiliate Member Logo EN



IMEX is proud to be an Affiliate Member of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), A Specialized Agency of the United Nations.


  IMEX_Politicians -Forum

About the Politicians Forum

IMGL2556 Kopie

Who attends?

• Local and regional politicians and government officials
• National ministers and government officials
• Senior representatives from selected international organisations and intergovernmental bodies
• Senior representatives from the meetings industry

A unique annual event in the meetings industry calendar. Each year we welcome over 40 politicians and political influencers from across the globe, with up to 80 industry leaders also attending. 

By inviting your key government and other influencers to the Politicians Forum, you can advance their understanding of the critical role this industry plays in supporting regional and national political agendas and sustainable development goals. At the same time you will be creating a high level profile for your city and country on a global industry platform.

Why attend?

• Governments are major investors in the meetings industry and have a responsibility to understand, at least the basics, of how it works. The Politicians Forum, held in conjunction with one of the largest meetings and events trade shows in the world, is a very efficient and effective way to get this kind of overview.

• Meetings and events are ideal vehicles for governments to address their broader public policy agendas in key areas such as economic development, health, education, resource development and social/cultural programming. The Politicians Forum addresses this area as well.

• Things are changing rapidly in the meetings and events industry. IMEX brings together key industry leaders to raise issues and mega trends affecting our industry to enable destinations to respond early.

• Politicians who choose to attend will also raise the profile of their respective destinations in the global industry, which is a major marketing benefit that will support their local industry. The Politicians Forum receives strong media coverage from the trade media which helps build profile and business in the global market.

• Attending the IMEX Politicians Forum will undoubtedly be a good investment of your time and one that will pay dividends in the future.

How do I invite a politician to the Politicians Forum?

Don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of the action – plan NOW to invite and accompany your community leaders.

Please contact Natasha Richards for further information and support. 

The Politicians Programme offers:

IMEX VIP World Tour: A valuable chance to see the meetings industry at work and the competition your destination faces.
Ministers Meeting: Open to national politicians and government officials only. A chance to discuss opportunities and challenges of meetings industry growth at a national level.
Global Exchange of Best Practice: Discussion and sharing of best practice between the meetings industry and government at local and regional level.
Politicians Forum: A chance to explore the opportunities and challenges for the meetings industry across all markets.

IMEX Support:

IMEX will assist you throughout the invitation process and support you with all arrangements for your politician in Frankfurt, including:

  • Return airport transfers from Frankfurt Airport
  • Invitation to the IMEX Opening Ceremony
  • Entrance to IMEX and the Politicians Forum
  • Drinks reception 
  • Comprehensive documentation of the Forum including detailed reports and analysis


IMEX 2016  Politicians Forum

Stuart Ayres HI RES  2016 Keynote speaker - Hon Minister Stuart Ayres, New South Wales Minister for Trade,   Tourism and Major Events   Australia 


Politicians Programme Final 1 


Official language

The official language of the Politicians Forum is English. Simultaneous interpretation is not provided. It is therefore expected that attendees are able to communicate in the English language.

Resources & Library

The following resources have been collated to assist IMEX exhibitors in seeking political support to attract more meetings and events to their destination. They include hard economic facts that support the huge benefits of the meetings industry's long term growth.

International Meetings Review (IMR), review IMEX 2016

IMEX Frankfurt 2016: Fulfilling political optimism from Fred Productions Ltd. on Vimeo.

Read the 2015 Politicians Forum review here

International Meetings Review (IMR), review the 2015 Politicians Forum:

IMR Review 

Bill McDermott, CEO, SAP interview during IMEX in Frankfurt 2015:

One of the world’s foremost business leaders, Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP, the world’s largest business software company, urges Politicians to recognise that Meetings and Events don’t just bring money and jobs into a city, they actually improve people’s lives.

Bill Mcdermott Interview


When We Meet, We Change The World:


Presentations at IMEX 2014

Mr Taleb Rifai, Secretary General, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) presentation at the IMEX 2014 Opening Ceremony:

Politicians Forum 2014 Presentations

Mr Taleb Rifai, Secretary General, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) presentation at the Politicians Forum:

Mr David Scowsill, CEO, World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) presentation:

Gordon Innes, CEO, London & Partners Presentation:

The Economic Impact Studies:

Other Industry Initiatives

Meetings Mean Business:

The Meetings Mean Business Coalition (MMBC) was created in 2009 by the U.S. Travel Association to showcase the incredible value that business meetings, travel and events bring to the U.S. economy. Its members span all facets of the face-to-face industry, which have come together behind a common goal: providing the resources, tools and information to show the real impact the industry has on businesses, economies and communities. More information


2016 Politicians' Forum


Testimonials from Attendees

2015 Politicians Forum Testimonials

Tokozile Xasa

Hon. Deputy Minister Tokozile Xasa, National Department of Tourism, South Africa:

“This has been very enriching for us and the discussions have been extremely interesting. We are learning how to deal with the challenges from those with more experience in this industry. It has been good to gain insights from the private sector and understand how collaboration between government and business is essential....Overall, this has been a very good learning experience.”

More information


 Hon. Ragnheidur Elin Arnadottir, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Iceland:

“The talks were informative and there was a strong sense of cohesion in the Forum. The main point that I have taken from today is that, to make the most of meetings business opportunities, it is very important to have good co-operation between several ministries within government, and I’m pleased to find that we are on the right track.

I’ve also realised the real extent of the opportunities to be developed in the area of innovation and tech-transfer, and how they can benefit the local economy. With expertise in, for instance, geothermal technology and the Arctic, these are two areas in which we could build more conference and meetings business.

I’ve been impressed by the meetings industry, how well-organised and structured it is, and the IMEX trade show is remarkable."

UNWTO_Secretary -General _Rifai _Taleb


Mr Taleb Rifai, Secretary General, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO):

“In almost every meeting I have with the Heads of State, Prime Ministers or Ministers they say... How can we attract more meetings?  How can we become more involved and engaged with the Meetings Industry?

The progress of the Meetings Industry IS the progress of the Travel & Tourism Industry. The progress of the Travel & Tourism industry IS the progress of economies and societies and that’s exactly why it is at the heart of our mission with the United Nations.”






Mr David Scowsill, CEO, World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC):  

"Meetings and events increase global trade, boost knowledge, foster scientific advancement, help destinations diversity products and reduce the ebon flow of seasonality... meetings remain an unrivalled method to build knowledge but for all these benefits to be realised to their full potential – the sector must galvanise fully the support of governments."






Lynn Lewis-Smith, CEO, Business Events Sydney:

Gordon Innes, CEO, London & Partners: