Over the past several decades, the meetings sector has emerged as a significant contributor to national economies; however, the value of the sector has been difficult to measure due to a lack of research and consistency within and among various countries. In 2006, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), along with the International Convention and Congress Association (ICCA), Meeting Professionals International (MPI), and Reed Travel Exhibitions, spearheaded an initiative to measure the economic activity of meetings on a national scale. The UNWTO and its partners developed definitions for meetings, recommended a methodology to quantify meetings activity through an extension of national tourism satellite accounts, and created a pilot program and guidelines for individual countries to quantify meetings activity.
As a result of the UNWTO's initiative, efforts to measure the economic significance of meetings have gained momentum in recent years. For example, the MPI Foundation Canada sponsored a study (released in 2008) that quantified the economic contribution of meetings activity in Canada (The Economic Contribution of Meetings Activity in Canada
). Mostly recently, in the United States, the Convention Industry Council in conjunction with other leading meeting industry associations released the study entitled the Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy (February 2011). However, research that specifically addresses the economic significance of meetings in Mexico has been limited. As a result, SECTUR initiated a plan to demonstrate the value of face-to-face meetings and study the economic significance of meetings in Mexico. More