‘30 looks good on you!’ – Event Director Silke Calder reflects on AIME 2023

16 March 2023 •

It is hard to believe that just one month ago we were in the midst of AIME 2023 – the 30th anniversary of the leading business events trade event in the Asia Pacific region. And I must say, AIME – 30 looks good on you! Can you think of another business events show that has such a long history? I know I cannot. 

It is inevitable that on the journey to reaching such a milestone there have been ups and downs. AIME is a show that has evolved, just as our industry – and our society – has evolved. In 1993 when AIME began we were reaching for the fax machine rather than a smartphone. It’s a real testament to the work of Melbourne Convention Bureau who established and have owned the show since the beginning that we are still here today, and I thank them for trusting me and my team completely to deliver AIME since Talk2 Media and Events took the reins in 2019. 

One of the many ways we keep our finger on the pulse is through our AIMEbassador program, which gives us the opportunity to connect with professionals from different industry sectors to help make some noise about the show. In the lead up to and throughout the 2023 event, we had the pleasure of working with Andrew Hiebl, Colette Baini, El Kwang, Kate Atkinson, Leanne Zied, Louise Scott, Maggie Diasinos, Mike Williams and Paula Rowntree, and I want to take the opportunity to thank each of these leaders for their time, passion and dedication to propelling our industry forward. 

We were thrilled to hold AIME’s official opening press conference at The Lume, including an address from The Hon. Steve Dimopoulous MP, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events; Minister for Creative Industries. Since his appointment the Minister has been a great cheerleader for our industry, and we thank him for his support. At the opening presser we also heard from Talk2 Media and Events CEO, Matt Pearce; Melbourne Convention Bureau CEO, Julia Swanson, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre CEO, Natalie O’Brien AM and Tourism Australia MD, Phillipa Harrison. 

The 2023 Knowledge Program theme was ‘Your industry. Your opportunity. What is the opportunity for the events industry now?’ and featured an expertly curated schedule by program partner Zadro Agency and AIME’s first-ever Knowledge Program Advisory Committee; chaired by MC El Kwang with Anna Patterson, Bronwen Largier, Paula Rowntree, Qifen Wang, Robyn Johnson, Shelley Ryan and Tegan Seccombe as members. On the day, attendees were both challenged and entertained by keynotes from the likes of futurist Professor Ben Hamer thanks to Saxton Speakers Bureau, and tennis star Jelena Dokic, supported by ICMI Speakers and Entertainers.

There is always much anticipation in the lead up to AIME’s Welcome Event and, as this years’ was also a 30th anniversary celebration, expectations were high. With the event planning in the hands of industry stalwart Peter Jones Special Events, and delivered in partnership with Melbourne Convention Bureau and Marvel Stadium, the pearl-themed extravaganza was worthy of the milestone occasion it marked. To steal a phrase from AIMEbassador Paula Rowntree, the 1,500 guests mingled like there was no tomorrow before dancing the night away to the sounds of the past 30 years with DJ Hot Dub Time Machine. Despite the mammoth two days ahead, no one wanted the night to end. 

When it came to the tradeshow itself, 2023 was certainly a time of growth – including the 40% more Hosted Buyers attending this year. This cohort was kept hydrated and sated by the flawless hospitality of Accor who sponsored the Hosted Buyer Lounge, and also threw a terrific cocktail party at the end of tradeshow day one. Thank you to each and every one of our Hosted, Semi-Hosted, Victorian and Visitor Buyers for your energy, enthusiasm and openness to connect throughout your time at AIME. 

Speaking of growth, the 2023 showfloor was 50% bigger than the previous year. We welcomed more than 350 exhibitors and were shown how AIME truly is a global event through the 25 countries represented at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Our exhibitors led the 12,000+ meetings that took place across the two days, with early feedback indicating these meetings have generated real outcomes for exhibitors and buyers alike. Our exhibitors and their partners are such an integral part of AIME, and if the number of showfloor spaces already being booked for the 2024 show are anything to go by, the feeling must be mutual. 

As we continue to gather the results from AIME’s 30th Anniversary event, enjoy reliving the best #AIMEMoments with this highlight reel. Until next year!



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