The business events industry injects more than $1 trillion into the global economy, preliminary results of the Events Industry Council’s (EIC) first Global Economic Significance of Business Events study show.
Tina Wehmeir, EIC chair, made the announcement Oct. 17 at IMEX America 2018 in Las Vegas. The annual worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events takes place Oct. 16-18 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center.
“IMEX America, which brings together more than 13,000 of the industry’s leading decision-makers and influencers, is the ideal place to share the powerful impact business events have — economically, socially, and culturally,” Wehmeir said in a press release. “This research will be a critical tool in demonstrating why business events are key to growth and development in every corner of the world.”
In 2017, according to the study, business events brought together more than 1.4 billion participants in more than 180 countries. While North America had the highest spend at $381 billion, every major region contributed to the $1.03 trillion total. Asia brought in $290.9 billion, while Western Europe contributed $266 billion. (See graphic for all regional amounts, which are in U.S. dollars.)
The top 50 countries accounted for $0.99 trillion of business events direct spending, representing 96 percent of the global total, the study showed.
With its trillion-dollar total, the business events industry ranks alongside the consumer electronics industry in terms of size and scope. The total reflects the direct spending attributed to planning, producing, attending, and/or hosting business events, which includes meetings, conferences, conventions, exhibitions, and incentive travel.
“The Global Economic Significance of Business Events offers a compelling snapshot of the broad reach, scope, and strength of our industry,” EIC CEO Karen Kotowski said in the release. “The findings will help us tell a more complete story of how and why business events serve as a major economic generator.”
Oxford Economics conducted the worldwide research on the economic significance of face-to-face business events. EIC commissioned the work with the support of IMEX, Hilton Hotels Worldwide, and the education foundations of PCMA and MPI.
More than 15 countries representing a diverse group of regions, national GDPs, domestic and international travel behaviors, in conjunction with third-party data, were used for an in-depth analysis of spend, arrivals, market size, and activity.
EIC expects to make the full research report available Nov. 9 and it will include the total economic impact of business events, including jobs and GDP as well as ranking of the top 50 countries.