Exhibition Group’s Advocacy Day Goes Global

The International Association of Exhibitions and Events took its Exhibitions Day global through a new partnership with its sister association UFI.

Three years ago the International Association of Exhibitions and Events launched its Exhibitions Day to help U.S. lawmakers understand the positive impact of meetings to the economy. This year, it expanded around the globe.

Even though IAEE’s past efforts did include its international members and some activity in other countries, a new partnership with its sister organization, UFI—The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, led to a Global Exhibitions Day. It occurred in conjunction with Exhibitions Day on June 7 and 8 and included exhibitions-related activities in 56 different countries.

“That’s a perfect example of collaborating with a friendly competitor—like ‘A Association’ who competes with ‘B Association’ in a certain industry collaborating on behalf of growing the public relations and advocacy efforts of their industry,” IAEE CEO David Dubois, FASAE, CAE, said.

UFI has already agreed to continue the partnership and hold another Global Exhibitions Day next year.

“For a long time, many people in the exhibitions industry felt that it would be great to have a day where the exhibition industry celebrates itself and sends a joint message about the importance and the strength of the industry not just in one country but worldwide. I am stunned how massive the global support of Global Exhibitions Day was and still is. It was about time to celebrate our industry and everyone working in it,” UFI President Sergey Alexeev said in a statement. “I am very happy to have encouraged this initiative as UFI President and I promise to support Global Exhibitions Day in the years to come.”

Activities, which took place in Germany, Thailand, and Dubai among other places, included celebrations at exhibitions centers, events, and legislative meetings. IAEE didn’t dictate what the events had to look like or what, if any, political change to push for. “It’s up to them on a local country basis and province basis in Canada, for example, to decide to do their own political action effort like we did,” Dubois said.

As in past years, Exhibitions Day participants in the U.S. visited Congress members on Capitol Hill to push for legislative changes. However, this year participants weren’t limited to visiting legislators based on their home state. Instead, they could visit members connected to places they do business “to point out the incredible positive economic impact and job creation and job support for the cities that they go to,” Dubois said.

For example, participants from Association of Equipment Manufacturers visited legislators from both their home state of Wisconsin and the locations of the group’s annual meetings: Kentucky and Nevada.

This year’s advocacy efforts [PDF] focused on expanding a House bill to protect the public from fraudulent websites posing as hotels, pushing legislation that would require the Department of Labor to reanalyze the overtime rule, and promoting bringing commerce into the U.S. via tradeshows.

“The overarching theme for everything is the important values that the exhibitions industry brings to trade, to commerce wherever you are, and the value it brings to the specific destination that is hosting those types of event,” said Roger Rickard, advocacy consultant to IAEE and owner of Voices in Advocacy.

Exhibitions Day is part of IAEE’s Exhibitions Mean Business campaign, which emphasizes the importance of exhibitions and events in creating face-to-face connections and supporting the global economy.

“Exhibitions Day gives a voice to the millions of Americans who rely on exhibitions and events to conduct business,” DuBois said in a release. “Our industry represents one of the oldest and most proven forms of commerce in the world, and it’s vital that we continue advocating for policy that benefits businesses and their employees.”


Alex Beall

By Alex Beall

Alex Beall is an associate editor for Associations Now with a masters in journalism and a penchant for Instagram. MORE

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