Remember the “Economic Significance of Meetings to the US” report issued in 2010 to defend the value of the industry to lawmakers who were questioning federal conference spending? Well, it’s getting an update, and the numbers look much better.
The first report worked to highlight how valuable meetings and conventions are to the US economy, but the data struggled to accurately portray the industry’s real impact. Why? The numbers were from 2009 when the entire country was feeling the serious challenges of the recession.
Now, with the recession in the rearview, the Convention Industry Council is updating the report to reflect new data from 2012. The complete findings will not be available until later this month, but here’s a sneak preview of some of the good news:
- Participant volume at meetings and events increased by 10 percent.
- Meetings’ contribution to the overall GDP increased by nearly 9 percent.
- The industry contributed more than $115 billion to the economy.
- The industry’s contribution to federal, state and local tax dollars was a whopping $28 billion.
- More than 1.7 million Americans are employed by the meetings industry.
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These are all good findings for the industry, which continues to find itself as the subject of Congressional hearings on the need to scale back government spending on travel and conferences.
The full report will provide more fuel for an industry-wide initiative that officially kicked off at PCMA’s Convening Leaders 2014 in Boston: the Meetings Mean Business Coalition. The coalition includes 24 professional associations, businesses and destination marketing organizations, and they’re all working together for one common goal: to proactively highlight why the industry is crucial to the entire economy while fighting off any potential for negative PR from fiascos such as the GSA debacle and the AIG retreat shortly after the federal bailout in 2008.
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“I often think the AIG effect could have been avoided,” Larry Luteran, Senior Vice President, Group Sales and Industry Relations, Hilton Worldwide and co-chair of the coalition, said.
To ensure the effect does not return, the coalition will use findings from the report to fuel messaging about the meetings industry’s power to create personal connections, drive positive business outcomes and build strong communities.
“This is a new opportunity for us to talk about what value all of our organizations bring to the table,” Roger Down, President and CEO, US Travel Association, said. “We’re really America’s adult education.”
Stay tuned to PCMA.org for complete coverage of the report when it’s officially released. Until then, visit the coalition’s official website to find out how you and your organization can get involved.