Government meeting professionals are happy to be back at work after the Congress agreed to a resolution that ended the 16-day government shutdown on October 16. “Unfortunately, continued uncertainty remains for our members and this industry,” said Rob Bergeron, executive director and CEO of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals.
“While SGMP's furloughed members are glad to get back to work today,” said Bergeron on October 17, “we certainly recognize that this was a short-term deal and not a long-term fix.” The resolution only funds the government through January 15, 2014, and raises the debt limit until February 7, 2014. "Our government and contract meeting planners who serve the federal government are eager to continue their important training mission for federal employees and to be appropriately compensated for those efforts," added Bergeron.
The shutdown may be over, but it doesn’t undo the damage caused by canceled meetings. "Missed conferences translate to missed knowledge," said Bergeron. It also negatively impacted industry suppliers and facilities. "Cancelled conferences result in a painful hit to local economies and businesses everywhere."
The National Capital Chapter of SGMP even had to postpone one of its own meetings, the NATCAP Expo, which was supposed to be held October 29-30 in Baltimore. The meeting was moved to February 24-26, 2014.
The American Hotel and Lodging Association also weighed in. “After 16 long days of uncertainty, the loss of $115.2 million in economic activity in the lodging industry, and billions of dollars more in lost collective income and visitor spending, hoteliers across America are grateful Congress and the President have finally come to the table and passed a bipartisan bill to end the government shutdown,” said Katherine Lugar, AH&LA president and CEO.
“We urge policymakers to take these next few months to engage in a serious dialogue to find a meaningful and long-lasting solution to the fiscal issues still facing this country – solutions that will allow the lodging industry to continue its role as a major driver of economic growth and job creation.”