Meetings and Tradeshow Groups Announce Inaugural Advocacy Day
The International Association of Exhibitions and Events announced the first-ever Exhibitions Day, a June advocacy day to educate lawmakers on the value of meetings in the United States.
Aiming to bring attention to the importance of organizational meetings to the U.S. economy, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events announced earlier this month the launch of a first-of-its-kind advocacy day.
“This is an important new move into the world of advocacy for IAEE and a great opportunity for members to exercise their right to participate in the political process,” IAEE Chairperson Skip Cox said in a statement. “With the involvement and support of industry members, our elected officials will come to understand what is at stake for our industry and the economy we support.”
The first-ever Exhibitions Day will take place June 16-17 in Washington, DC, and will focus on reducing barriers and promoting more growth in the meetings industry.
Some 225 million people attended meetings and events in the U.S. in 2012—a 10 percent increase from 2009, according to a 2014 report conducted by the Convention Industry Council. The same report found that meetings in 2012 contributed $115 billion to the U.S. economy and accounted for 1.7 million jobs.
Yet, the future of the industry is uncertain given ongoing federal budget cuts and agency policies limiting government employee attendance at meetings. Restrictions on incoming foreign travel is an additional hurdle, IAEE says.
Exhibitions Day participants will meet with legislators to discuss the Jobs Originated Through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act—a bipartisan bill that aims to increase the number of international visitors to the United States through a number of policies, including expanding the Visa Waiver Program. The program allows citizens from eligible countries to travel to the U.S. for up to 90 days without a visa.
Participants will also talk with legislators about the the economic and professional value of government employee participation at meetings.
“Exhibitions and events industry professionals recognize the potential threat to our industry and the economy if restrictions to these programs continue, which is why it is critical for us to engage directly with lawmakers on Exhibitions Day 2014,” said IAEE President and CEO David DuBois, CMP, FASAE, CAE.
Exhibitions Day was developed in collaboration with several other industry groups, including the U.S. Travel Association, the Exhibit Designers and Producers Association, the International Association of Venue Managers, and the Exhibition Services and Contractors Association.