Registrations for Summit of Americas ‘picking up strongly’ ahead of return

By Luke Barras-hill |

Buyer sign-up for the Americas Summit has been healthy, TRBusiness gathers.

Visitor registrations are accelerating and exhibition space has sold out with a little under four weeks to go until the start of the 2022 Summit of the Americas (10-13 April).

This year’s Summit, which is being held at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, marks the return of the trade gathering in a live format for the first time since 2019.

In an exclusive video interview for the TRBusiness March/April edition, printed copies of which will be available from the press racks during the event, IAADFS President and CEO Michael Payne expressed his optimism for a new format geared more eagerly towards educational sessions.

“At this point, we don’t have anymore exhibit space and registrations have really started to pick up,” shared Payne, encouraged by the fact that the decision to host the Summit at Palm Beach was not taken until September.

“We didn’t really get underway with registrations until mid-November with the holidays, so it’s been a slower registration process but we’ve clearly seen the numbers picking up and we expected that.”

PRIVATE MEETING ROOMS

Buyer sign-up has been healthy, TRBusiness understands, with delegations expected from the likes of DFS, DFA, Dufry, Aer Rianta International, 3Sixty Duty Free and Heinemann Americas.

Michael Payne, CEO and President, IAADFS spoke to TRBusiness in a video interview for the March/April e-zine.

As reported, the 2022 Summit of the Americas will stage a conference throughout Monday 11 April and Tuesday 12 April at the same time as allowing delegates the flexibility to schedule business discussions with exhibitors.

Flanking the business agenda will be the customary menu of networking opportunities. An opening cocktail will take place from 18:30 – 20:30 on Sunday 10 April, with networking cocktails also scheduled on Monday and Tuesday between 18:30 – 20:00.

“We’ve got those social activities established, exhibit and private room opportunities for suppliers and buyers to meet,” said Payne.

In addition, there are plans for a separate ‘Summit Lounge’ to facilitate one-to-one networking.

“We hope between those opportunities everybody will get what they need,” he added.

COVID DECLINE A ‘NORTH STAR’ MOMENT

TRBusiness will host a special regional edition of the TR Consumer Forum as part of a busy programme featuring a keynote address from Lagardère Travel Retail Chairman and CEO Dag Rasmussen as the keynote [for more on the conference programme and speakers, click here].

The 90-minute Americas-focused session will begin with the latest consumer research and traffic forecasts courtesy of m1nd-set, to be followed by a discussion with leading executives who will share their perspectives on the region’s post-pandemic recovery.

ASUTIL is not co-hosting the Summit with IAADFS this year but is playing a supporting role as content partner.

“It was a three-year initiative, but I don’t think you can really measure it as we didn’t have a [physical] event in two of them,” said Payne.

“The decision [this year] was an economic one in terms of taking on the liability of space, hotels and contracts. There was a sense it was better for us to do that rather than having a joint venture. There isn’t a formal cost-sharing agreement this year, but there is still a lot of partnering going on and engagement between the two organisations.”

During a broad-ranging discussion, Payne updated on the association’s advocacy activities at a critical juncture in the recovery as the industry weathers Omicron and other macro-economic challenges.

He echoed the confidence of IAADFS’ members in the regional industry’s recovery, including in the US following the long-awaited removal of international air and land border restrictions with Canada and Mexico in November.

“Certainly we’re not back to 2019 levels, but I think it’s fair to say that people are feeling really very positive with the lifting of some travel restrictions both east to west and north to south and airports are busy,” added Payne. “Seeing the decline of Covid has been a real north star – people are very upbeat and positive, but cautious.”

RESERVATIONS DEADLINE EXTENDED

On Friday (11 March), IAADFS announced that the final deadline for reservations at the Hilton West Palm Beach and West Palm Beach Marriott has been extended until Friday 18 March.

The Hilton hotel is connected to the Palm Beach County Convention Center, while the West Palm Beach Marriott is approximately seven miles from the venue.

A daily shuttle service will operate between the Marriott hotel and conference venue.

Registration for the 2022 summit includes access to the exhibit/meeting areas, conference sessions and all official networking events.

Visitors will also be able to avail of a daily registration service providing access to all official Summit activities on that day.

To read and watch the full interview with Michael Payne, watch out for the March/April edition of TRBusiness.

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