Updated CIC Study Shows Increase in Meetings’ Contributions to U.S. Economy


The Conventions Industry Council has released an update to its landmark study, The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy, which was commissioned in 2009 and published in 2011. If anything, meetings have become even more significant in the last three years. The updated report, prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and previewed during the launch of the Meetings Mean Business campaign at the PCMA Convening Leaders meeting in January, takes a similarly in-depth look at the meetings industry during the 2012 calendar year. During that time, there were 1.83 million meetings in the United States. Together, they contributed more than $115 billion to the country’s GDP, a 9 percent increase compared to 2009. The study also found increases in the number of meeting participants; the value of federal, state and local taxes that meetings generate; and the number of jobs that the meetings industry supports. There was, however, a 15 percent decrease in the total economic output of the meetings, due primarily to a sharp drop in “induced spending,” which refers to spending by employees of the meeting industry and its suppliers (which can include, for example, when a planner uses income from his or her job to eat at a restaurant, buy a car or pay an electricity bill).




% Change

Total number of meetings

1.7 million

1.8 million


Meeting participants

204.7 million

224.9 million


Direct contribution to GDP

$106.1 billion

$115.6 billion


Total economic output

$907.2 billion

$770.3 billion


Direct contribution to federal, state & local taxes

$25.6 billion

$28.1 billion


Jobs directly created by meetings

1.7 million

1.8 million


The original study has proven to be a valuable resource for industry advocates, giving them authoritative economic data to use when trying to persuade politicians and policymakers about the importance of the meetings industry. It gave rise to the widely cited claim that the meetings industry is bigger than the automotive industry. According to the updated report, the auto industry’s rebound means that factoid is no longer true—at least in terms of GDP—but the meetings industry still surpasses the contributions of the air transportation, motion picture, sound recording, performing arts and spectator sport industries.