Imagination, that was this year’s theme at IMEX Frankfurt. We, the team behind the GDS-Index, took this theme to heart, by reimagining the future of the index. And on this journey, there were lots of new encounters, lots of busyness, but mostly, lots of fun.

Welcoming to the team our newest addition, Noah, we dived right into the madness of IMEX for his first experience on the job. It all started on EduMonday, with our first session “Sustainability on Trial: Who’s responsibility is it?” Dressed up with wigs and gavel, Guy Bigwood moderated the debate as the barrister, while Petra Stušek (Managing Director of Ljubljana Tourism) and Nalan Emre (COO of IMEX) acted as the judges for this contentious issue. In a very fun and engaging manner, the judges ruled that both destinations and event organizers share the responsibility in driving sustainability in the tourism and events industry. The core take-away: collaboration and systemic thinking is key. These messages have profound meaning, and we seek to nurture this awareness throughout our networks.

For the remainder of IMEX we were working on our new interactive whitepaper. We had the pleasure of travelling around the globe (or in this case Messe) to conduct interviews with the most innovative and impactful destinations in the GDS-Index. We started at Ljubljana, made our way over to Melbourne, traveled to Barcelona, before being treated to a nice and warm networking session around food waste at Thailand’s booth. Our journey then continued with one of our top destinations: Copenhagen, before venturing to speak with Kyoto followed by Bangkok, and to then be surprised by the new ‘Business is Green’ campaign by Monaco. We ended our IMEX travels with a bang, by interviewing Gothenburg, our star destination,

Lausanne-Montreux, and IMEX itself. So, get ready for eye-opening insights, vivid inspiration, and useful tactics for change, and make sure to check out the whitepaper itself on 5th of June!

To go one step further in improving our governance and transparency, we conducted our first meeting with our new Advisory Board, with representatives from each region, and each one of our founding partners. Having all of these esteemed minds of great imagination in one room has generated precious inputs on the evolution and growth of the Index.

To make this experience even richer, we ran sessions about the cool ideas inspired by the SDGs to spice up events, with Events Industry Council (EIC), and shared information on destination sustainability with Katarina Thorstensson from Gothenburg, which included interventions from Monaco and Thailand.

One of the most enjoyable parts of this experience was preparing you for our new communications campaign, with our business cards game… did you get see it? If not, we hope to share it with you the next time we see each other outside of these virtual confines.

IMEX: always a crazy, wild, and vibrant experience! Until next time!