The agenda for event professionals marking #ExhibitionsDay this week in Washington, D.C. covered travel, infrastructure and marketing. For the sixth year, a delegation from Exhibitions Mean Business campaign flew in to meet face-to-face with members of congress and address policy issues impacting the health of trade shows and conventions—which contributed $97 billion to the United States Economy in 2018.
Exhibitions Day is expected to draw more than 100 attendees from a variety of organizations, who will address policy makers from their home states as well as states they travel to conduct events.
“Exhibitions Day is an important moment for our industry to come together and create change that betters the American business environment for events,” said IAEE president and CEO David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA. “These unique platforms play a vital role in the success of businesses and our local and national economies. It’s critical for us to communicate that value and our concerns with leaders.”
Roger Rickard, founder of Voices in Advocacy, said legislative days are one of the most effective ways to tell industry stories to elected officials.
Agenda Talking Points
- Secure Travel Partnership Act of 2019 (H.R. 1996)
Travel is a top-10 employer in 49 states, and international travel is the top American service export and second export overall. In 2019, the House introduced H.R. 1996 to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to rename the Visa Waiver Program to the Secure Travel Partnership. The existing program, administered by the Department of Homeland Security, allows prescreened citizens of participating countries to travel to the U.S. for tourism or business for 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. The rebrand will better welcome visitors and express our country’s commitment to safe and secure travel.
- JOLT Act of 2019 (H.R. 2187) Over 1.2 million jobs across America are directly supported by international inbound travel. For the United States to grow that number and regain and increase our share of the global travel market, it is important to improve and expand programs currently in place. Advocates will encourage the JOLT Act, which will update and strengthen numerous programs related to the efficiency and volume of international travel.
- Investing in America’s Infrastructure: According to the World Economic Forum, inadequate infrastructure is one of the top factors impeding U.S. business, making it extremely challenging to accommodate trade shows within states. Attendees will ask Congress to support measures that close all infrastructure investment gaps.
- Protecting Brand USA: Brand USA is a bipartisan program, funded by inbound airline passenger fees and private industry, that promotes the country overseas as a business and tourist destination. A 2019 study by Oxford Economics showed that Brand USA’s six-year marketing results equate to an average marketing ROI of 28:1., meaning every $1 of Brand USA marketing generated $28 in spend. Attendees will urge Congress to oppose measures to defund Brand USA and recognize that reduced funding would hurt the health of our economy.
Exhibitions Day was established in 2014 to serve as a platform to engage in uninterrupted, one-on-one dialogue with federal legislators and other policy influencers.
The 2019 title partner of Exhibitions Day is Trade Show Executive Magazine. Additional partners include:
- video partner – Orange County Convention Center, produced by CNTV,
- Meet Up partner, InGo
- Transportation partner, CMAC
- Registration partner, Streampoint Solutions and
- Host partner, Top of the Hill/Reserve Officers Association.
About Exhibitions Mean Business
Established in 2011, Exhibitions Mean Business (EMB) was created to unify and give a collective voice to the exhibitions and events industry and better advocate the benefits of face-to-face meetings to business growth and economic development. Driven by members of the industry, including professional associations, venue and convention center operators, exhibitions-focused service providers, convention and visitors bureaus and other travel and tourism organizations, EMB promotes the values of the industry through strategic advocacy campaigns, media relations efforts and stakeholder engagement initiatives.