I have always been intimidated by tall women. So when they are more than seven feet tall and dressed from head to toe in blue crepe paper, the intimidation metre goes off the scale.
I came across this vision of extended loveliness during my recent visit to AIME which, notwithstanding disproportionately sized females, was a joy from beginning to end.
It was my first time at the rather grandly named Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo but that was about the only thing long winded about the whole two and a half day affair.
There was body art, face painting, delicious food and balloons. It could have been a children’s party, but for the serious business of bringing associations and event planners from around the world to Melbourne, where the best meetings and incentives destinations and products are showcased to the industry . AIME is big business for big businesses. “If you don’t get a high from this week, you’re in the wrong industry,” Sally de Swart, Exhibition Director, told Traveltalk. I’m not sure if she was referring to my crepe-paper bedecked nemesis.
My particular favourite was the Incredible India stand, the highlight of which was a replica of the Taj Mahal. Having been to the real thing, I was amazed to see just how much detail and work had gone into the replica, complete with delicate carvings, elegant brushstrokes and pigeon droppings on the roof (only kidding. They were seagulls). Not surprisingly, TI won an award for its display.
But there was also great success for the locals. Business Events Sunshine Coast was named Best Innovative Stand, Best New Exhibitor Stand went to City of Sydney while Best Environmentally Sustainable Stand was presented to Accor Asia-Pacific. The materials on their stand were 100 per cent reusable and its flooring system has a lifespan of 10 years or more … no doubt they’ll still be going strong at AIME 2023.
The Melbourne Convention Bureau, the Melbourne Conference and Exhibition Centre, and Reed Travel Exhibitions are all to be congratulated on staging such an enjoyable event. I can’t wait to go again next year…perhaps I’ll take a pair of stilts, just in case.
@ There will be more on AIME 2013 in the April issue of Traveltalk
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