Industry members are disappointed that Inspire EX has now been put to rest by ETF in 2015.

As reported in our February 2015 e-newsletter, greater competition for shrinking marketing budgets and time-poor planners are just two reasons why ETF cancelled Inspire EX in 2015. Following our story micenet received plenty of feedback from readers, with arinex’s Ros McLeod being one of those and reflecting on how the event actually began back in the mid-1980s.

Ms McLeod said in the mid-80s she was on the Board of the Sydney Convention & Visitors Bureau (now Business Events Sydney) when the Melbourne bureau founded the AIME exhibition.

“Colin Barnes, the SCVB CEO talked about starting up a similar event in Sydney,” she recalls.

“He was going to call it Kaleidoscope which was the name of a show in the U.S. at the time, but it never happened. I decided it needed to happen and so with John Aufmanis from National Exhibitions, David Beal from Audience

Motivation, and a different venue each year – SCEC, the Opera House, the Regent (now Four Seasons) – we created the Ideas Fair for Meeting Planners.

“We did not charge exhibitors, or if we did it was minimal, nor did we charge guests. The aim was to grow the business.

“My particular aim was to make it exclusive and each exhibitor could only participate by producing invitees and then the exhibitor would be eliminated the next year if their invitees did not come.”

Ms McLeod said it was a wonderfully successful event. After it grew the group handed it over to the Sydney Convention & Visitors Bureau who took on the management.

A name change to Sydney on Sale soon followed, and then it was renamed again to the Australian Business Events Expo. A few years later the RSVP exhibition for the event industry was launched. Both events were purchased by ETF and the shows were co-located.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Australia’s Sue Cavanagh said she was disappointed to hear of the end of Inspire EX, and remembers its predecessor fondly.

“I do remember the Sydney on Sale events many years ago. They were fantastic, fun and great for networking, and yes, I got great ideas from them as I have from other past events,” she said.

“I personally found these events a great resource for finding new and unusual ideas, and because it was all in the one place it was easy. It is hard to schedule time to attend but if you are interested you will find a way, and I normally managed to get there for at least an hour.

“Unfortunately it is hard to get to AIME being that it is in Melbourne and I am in Sydney.”

The Full Pretzel’s Julie Allen wonders how many people from Sydney did not attend AIME this year because they assumed Inspire EX would be running.

SCG Events’ Susan Le Roux poses the question whether it is time for Sydney exhibitors to take 1-2 years off from exhibiting at a Sydney tradeshow to ascertain whether the demand/requirements to market via a tradeshow presence is worthwhile.

“If it is, we will all choose to exhibit – and it will be more worthwhile,” she said.

Ros Barrett-Lennard of Magic Touch Consultancies wonders whether being owned by a company presents a disconnect for these apparently city or state-wide events?

“With the name and structure change to Destination NSW and ICC Sydney, perhaps ownership of the show and the setting of the guidelines can be at arm’s length from the organising company. The organising company is responsible for the presentation and logistics of the event, and the government bodies set the agenda in consultation with the whole industry sector.”

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