AIMEbassador Mike Williams reflects on AIME’s 30 year legacy

Gaining Edge's Mike Williams looks at the 30-year legacy of the business events sector.

Asia Pacific Incentives and Meeting Event (AIME) 2023 will be a celebration of the show’s 30-year legacy with new features, events, programming and more to be announced.  With less than eight weeks to the event, AIMEbassador Mike Williams, Senior Partner and Senior Consultant at Gaining Edge, reflects on the business events industry and looks to its future.

Thirty years ago, the business events industry was still experiencing growth pains and fighting for recognition as an industry in its own right. The industry was divided both geographically and by sector and not united in its voice to government or stakeholders. For those in the know, we could see a bright and prosperous future as the business events industry played an integral role across all sectors, corporations, government and not for profit organisations but this vision was not being realised elsewhere.

AIME became a platform and a voice for those passionate about the industry. I remember escorting many government officials and stakeholders around the trade show floor explaining what we were all about. Governments across the region had trouble understanding the term ‘MICE’ and what it stood for –  jokingly, some would refer to it as the rodent business. This soon led to a push by industry leaders for a name change that would resonate with a wider audience.


Thirty years on, there is much better recognition and understanding of what is now referred to as the ‘business events industry.’  We have come of age – we are more sophisticated.  Investment in new infrastructure across the Asia Pacific has been phenomenal and competition has intensified. Economic diversity has created both new business event opportunities as well as new trade opportunities and, up until the global pandemic, the industry experienced healthy growth despite an increasingly volatile environment.

The pandemic fast tracked a number of industry developments including digital transformation and the adaptation of more sustainable business practices as the industry sprung back to life. We are becoming more agile in our responses to new sets of challenges created by labour shortages, disruptions to the supply chain, spikes to travel costs and global uncertainty; a surge in business created from pent up demand has the industry stretched to the limits. One thing is for certain, the business events industry is emerging as more resilient than ever and face-to-face meetings are in hot demand.


It is difficult to imagine what our industry will look like in another 30 years, but I am hoping governments and communities around the world fully recognise and support the business events industry as an integral part of social and economic development. In times of economic downturns, which we are now experiencing, governments should recognise and use business events as a key platform to help stimulate trade and investment.

What will events of the future look like? I imagine that face-to-face and virtual events will work in harmony to enhance the visitor experience, creating better learning, networking and business opportunities. Finally, business events will be fully inclusive and fulfilling for people of all races, abilities and gender.

I sincerely hope that all those attending AIME for its 30-year anniversary event will take a moment for themselves and for the industry. Appreciate how far we’ve come, how hard we’ve worked and how exciting and directional the future is looking.

The Asia Pacific Incentives and Meeting Event is returning to the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre (MCEC) from 13–15 February 2023.

It is the industry’s flagship trade event in the Asia Pacific region (APAC) and connects 400 Hosted Buyers and 2,000 Visitor Buyers with over 300 world-class domestic and international exhibitors. With nearly 60 percent of the world’s population located in APAC, it is a must-attend event for industry players wanting to capitalise on the region’s growing business events industry.