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Friday, October 28, 2011
The Meeting Industry: A Cure for the Recession
It’s no secret that the Unites States economy is suffering. Many are looking for an effective way out of the recession, and in an economic climate full of failing businesses and lay-offs, solutions seem few and far between. The meeting industry can offer a significant cure to the current recession.
The results of a recent study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers quantified the meetings industry as a vital entity and significant contribution to the national economy. The study, “The Economic Significance of meetings to the U.S. Economy”, was released by the Convention Industry Council in February. According to the study, “the U.S. meetings industry directly supports 1.7 million jobs, $263 billion in spending, a $106 billion share of the GDP, $60 billion in labor revenue, $14.3 billion in federal tax revenue and $11.3 billion in state and local tax revenue each year”. These significant numbers prove that the meetings industry plays a critical role in supporting employment in communities across the nation and creating environments that promote innovation and successful businesses.
A coalition of 14 leading meetings industry membership organizations spent a year performing the necessary research. The study was based on the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) definition of meetings, which is defined as a gathering of 10 or more participants for a minimum of four hours in a contracted venue. This definition includes conventions, conferences, congresses, trade shows and exhibitions, incentive events, corporate/business meetings and other meetings that fall within those guidelines. During a press release announcing the results, Executive Director of the Convention Industry Council, Karen Kotowski, summarized the importance of the meetings industry. “Two years ago, the value of meetings, one of America’s top economic and social engines, was misunderstood by governments and the public. This new research quantifies the economic significance of our sector for legislators, regulators and economists alike."
In the past, due to inconsistent research among various countries, the economic value of the meetings industry was unknown. With the results of this study comes a better understanding the meeting industry and its numerous advantages. These advantages, to both businesses and the public, are difficult to ignore. In a nation sick with the recession blues, the meetings industry can offer a meaningful remedy.