IBTM Americas: MPI’s strong presence onsite

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IBTM Americas: MPI’s strong presence onsite

By Jennifer Peralta | Sep 18, 2023

This article has been translated from its original in Spanish. 

As meeting professionals gathered in Mexico City for IBTM Americas 2023 last week, we caught up with Alfonso Ibarra, CEO of Wondrus Meeting Planner and a member of MPI's Latin America (LATAM) Advisory Council. He told us about MPI LATAM leaders’ role in creating a strong presence for the organization at the event and shared his thoughts on the strength of LATAM as a meeting destination and the latest industry trends.

“When we meet, we change the world,” Ibarra said. “Take advantage of any opportunity to meet and interact with someone and share ideas. In our industry, you always must take advantage, because you do not know who you might be meeting. It is a vital thing to do.” 

Can you tell us about MPI LATAM's participation in IBTM Americas this year, planning MPI’s onsite activities?

Today, we are returning to IBTM in a way not seen since before the pandemic. Today, in 2023, we are 100% back to face-to-face events, specifically within the framework of IBTM. We are once again having MPI Global at this event. Why is that? We have been working on it since March because of all our restrictions, which take preparation.

Since March and April, we have been working on an educational program that was offered through different panels of experts.

So, when we talk about MPI’s pillars, that is precisely where we are heading. One of the pillars of MPI, in addition to the relationships and networking, is education. The education part must be fundamental and transcendental so that the new generations and everyone around this can see what trends are happening.

Another thing we have done entirely differently is to have all our colleagues from Latin America participate along with Mexico, the Mexican Caribbean and LATAM. We had a cocktail party to welcome them, and we are looking into the future. What next international event will exist in our industry?

We also had a casino theme night, in which, through the Las Vegas Attraction Group, we were raffling different certificates for helicopters, dinners and different attractions in Las Vegas to use within the framework of IMEX Americas. Therefore, we seek continuity to our sessions.

To this end, and as mentioned, it takes planning and anticipation. That is what we are doing today, in addition to working on inviting more people to connect these days.

Can you comment on the educational highlights that were offered to IBTM Americas attendees?

We touched on topics that are of common interest to participants in the meeting industry. We started with a panel of former MPI presidents talking about the past, present and future of the meeting industry, and others touched on the hospitality side—meeting planners, men and women who play an essential role in inclusion. Likewise, there were topics about how technology plays a part in today’s events. In another moment, we discussed the educational content from a formative approach. We also discussed the discrepancies between hoteliers, event organizers, production companies, etc.

How does this year's IBTM Americas compare with previous events in Latin America, especially as the industry recovers from the pandemic? 

I am not too fond of comparisons. It is essential to mention that each event and each country has its essence. Each event held in different parts of the world—such as in Colombia, Panama, Argentina, the U.S. or Europe—has its importance and respect. The difference always lies around the people. Unlike any other that I have had the opportunity to attend, you will find a distinctive touch of hospitality, vocation and attitude, which characterizes us Mexicans and Latinos so much. Especially Mexicans—when we say, “My home is your home,” it is because we genuinely feel it.

What makes Latin America, or Mexico in particular, a great destination for meetings and events? 

First, you must know how to use the figures and the data. We must remember that the first entry point to Latin America is Mexico, and the airport with the most significant number of flights is Mexico City. Therefore, it serves as a spearhead, and we must know how to capitalize on it. We also must take advantage of the connectivity to our next destination, in terms of the flow of flights, where connectivity is practically less than that of Mexico City but with the same scope we have at the international level.

Can you tell us about a trend in meetings that you have experienced lately?

Sustainability is [experiencing] a solid boom in all events, congresses, conventions and incentives. Even here today, you can see that the issue of sustainability is becoming more and more important. There is a greater awareness among people on how to care for the planet, which will be part of the experiences, as it has been in the past.



Jennifer Peralta