The Center for Exhibition Industry Research has found new data showing that events contributed $91 billion to the U.S. GDP in 2017—about $10 billion more than was previously estimated. That number is among the data Exhibitions Mean Business members plan to share with Congress when they take to Capitol Hill for the fifth annual Exhibitions Day June 5–6.
“This notable increase from previous records further emphasizes the importance of face-to-face connections in conducting business,” says Allen Shaw, PhD, chief economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates. A few other key data points likely to be on the docket: More than 33.2 million people attend business-to-business exhibitions and events each year, and there are more than 9,400 B2B expos held annually in the U.S.
In addition to emphasizing the scope of the event business to government representatives, exhibition professionals plan to lobby for actions that will address some of the challenges the industry faces, including:
• Encouraging lawmakers to vote in favor of bills such as H.R. 2495 and S. 1164, which “prohibit websites from pretending to be hotels and allow state attorneys general to pursue restitution and refunds on behalf of the victims,” according to EMB. This would help mitigate the 15 million-plus online booking scams that happen every year, bleeding more than $1.3 billion from both hotels and consumers.
• Informing them about the Exhibitions and Meetings Safety and Security Initiative, a joint project of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), its partners, and the Department of Homeland Security. EMSSI is designed to align convention center security guidelines with federal programs and the Department of Homeland Security/Safety Act Office. The accreditation program is expected to launch later this year.
• Urging lawmakers and other policy influencers to take action to keep the U.S. competitive in the global travel market by making international tourism promotion a priority. After more than 10 years of growth, the U.S. share of the global travel market fell from 13.6 percent to 11.9 percent this year, a trend that EMB believes can be reversed by maintaining a “secure, welcoming environment that is conducive for business deals and events.”
• Discussing the importance of investing in the transportation, housing, and dining infrastructure that cities need to meet the demands of trade shows and events, which in turn generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for cities.
“Exhibitions Day is an invaluable forum to meet face-to-face with members of Congress and discuss important matters that strain our industry, and as a result, impact local economies,” says IAEE CEO and President David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA. “It is our responsibility to equip our nation’s leaders with the knowledge needed to shape our country to better facilitate domestic and international business deals.”
Learn more about EMB and Exhibitions Day on the EMB website.