Originally published in Trade Show Executive, May 2014 Issue
No one said it would be easy, but as IAEE’s first Exhibitions Day on Capitol Hill approaches, I am constantly reminded of the value of collaboration. An amazing team of industry professionals has come together to create a program complete with education about meeting with legislators, supplemented with an educators forum where we will engage professors at universities in the D.C.-area about the value of exhibitions and events and extended with media outreach about the unquestionable value of face-to-face events.
With only a few short weeks to pull this event off due to the Congressional calendar and pending election season, we would have had a monumental undertaking – pun intended! However, I am very pleased by the support of industry organizations who I have contacted and who have contacted me and said “Absolutely – we will spread this message to our members and influencers because the issues are so important.”
The event, which will take place 16-17 June 2014 in Washington, D.C., was developed in collaboration with multiple industry organizations who have come together to develop and support this critical initiative to ensure members’ voices are heard by legislators. These organizations include the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), Exhibit Designers and Producers Association (EDPA), Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA), the IAEE Washington, D.C. Chapter, International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), and the U.S. Travel Association (U.S. Travel). Additionally, industry media partners who will support the event include Expo Magazine, Trade Show Executive and TSNN. As part of Exhibitions Day, IAEE leaders will meet with the U.S. Department of Commerce to confirm our joint efforts in promoting and supporting exhibitions as a major economic driver in the U.S.
Additionally, the overall program is being chaired by former IAEE Chairperson and National Association of Broadcasters Executive Vice President of Conventions and Business Operations Chris Brown and IAEE Chair-Elect and Association of Equipment Manufacturers Vice President of Exhibitions & Events Megan Tanel, CEM. Their leadership and support has been a driving factor in what promises to be an effective day on the Hill.
Industry leaders will plan to meet with key media outlets to promote the value of our industry and address these core issues with legislators:
- JOLT Act – Jobs Originated through Launching Travel Act is a bi‐partisan issue that would leverage the benefits of inbound international travel to the United States to increase economic growth, create more jobs, generate additional tax revenue and boost U.S. exports. Restrictions on travel and foreign participation are hurting exhibitions and events. As a result, these challenges contribute to driving both foreign and domestic audiences directly to more traveler-friendly events outside of the U.S.
- Visa Waiver Program – The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States without a visa for stays of 90 days or less, when they meet certain requirements. In accepting more countries into the program, the U.S. not only fosters better diplomatic relationships, but increases trade and tangentially boosts economic growth.
- Government employee participation – Government employee participation at events is undeniably valuable to both attendees and exhibitors because it fosters the development of effective regulation, contributes to innovation that drives economic growth, and provides unique learning and training opportunities.
Without the support of these organizations, as well as Edelman, our public relations firm, who has worked with many of us from all facets of the exhibitions and evens industry, Exhibitions Day would not have nearly as much momentum as it has and continues to build each day.
There is no doubt that collectively, Exhibitions Day this June will have a substantial and long-lasting impact. There is great potential that Exhibitions Day will leave a positive and defining mark in the eyes of everyone who participates – attendees, educators, media and lawmakers – and by doing so, we will create the foundation for future discussions ensuring future growth.
David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA
President and CEO