Events Industry Reunites and Rebounds at Connect Marketplace

ATLANTA, Sept. 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — By bringing together approximately 2,500 elite event professionals, the success of Connect 2021 in Tampa, Fla., signaled a welcomed step forward for the events industry. With more than three times the number of attendees as last year’s counterpart, Connect Marketplace’s growth demonstrated the will and determination of an industry ready to recover from its biggest challenge to date.

By bringing together 2,500 event professionals, Connect 2021 signaled a welcomed step forward for the events industry. 

The three-day event featured 45,000 number of appointments between meetings and events planners representing corporate groups, associations, sports organizations and more with potential business partners such as hotels and destinations. As a result, not only did Connect 2021 provide a substantial economic boost to the local economy, filling hotel rooms, restaurants and local establishments in Tampa, it set the stage for thousands of future events benefitting destinations across the country.

“We said ahead of time that Connect is the right event at the right time,” says Connect President Chris Collinson. “And it really was. You could feel the jolt our event gave to each attendee. We look forward to continuing this positive momentum to help the entire industry fully regain its footing in these challenging times.”

Among the highlights of the event were:

  • Star-studded speakers like gymnastics champion Simone Biles and NFL legend Jerry Rice.
  • More than 100 destinations and industry vendors, along with more than 1,000 top-tier event planners, set up booths on and around the trade show floor.
  • $75,000 was raised for BCRF through an on-site tattoo parlor and donation push.

New additions to the 2021 trade show included the Visit Myrtle Beach Pickleball Tournament and the Visit Detroit Music Lounge. Additionally, the Visit Sacramento Speaker Showcase provided a venue for engaging speakers who planners can seek to use at their own future events. Other highlights include a coffee café presented by Discover Puerto Rico, ice cream parlor from the Branson CVB, as well as offerings from Visit San Antonio and the Greater Miami CVB and many more.

Connect sister company BizBash provided high-level education and experiential thought leadership from planners representing marquee brands like Under Armour and Barclays. More than 2,200 attendees participated in the hybrid education conducted in partnership with event tech powerhouse MeetingPlay.

BizBash President Matt Johnson says the event was a clear sign of the industry’s new direction. “I was truly moved by how many people who gathered have never even met their bosses, colleagues and customers in person. Hearing all the stories gave me goosebumps and the satisfaction that this was an important moment for our industry,” says Johnson. “By embracing event technology, BizBash reached event professionals from Singapore to Dublin to right down the road in Miami.”

Connect continues to push the industry forward with several in-person events to round out 2021 and its 2022 calendar is taking shape. Connect will host two significant marketplaces next year, in Puerto Rico in May and in Detroit in August. For more information about Connect events, click here.


Connect is a leader in the meetings, events, travel and tourism industry. Specializing in destination marketing, the company produces digital programs, online and mobile solutions, meetings business and travel magazines, trade shows and consumer events, travel guides for newspapers and leisure magazines and destination information, which is distributed through broadcast and custom programs. Connect, formerly known as Collinson Media & Events, introduced the popular Marketplace format to the meetings industry and now produces national shows for meeting planners in the Corporate, Sports, Diversity, Association and Faith sectors as well as other state- and region-specific meetings- and hospitality-focused events. More information about the company’s brands and services is available at

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