By Tom Noonan, President & CEO of Visit Baltimore
This fall, Baltimore has been privileged to host Board meetings and leadership retreats for a number of professional groups including the Professional Convention Management Association, Experient, Conference Direct and the Convention Industry Council. But the opportunity to serve as the host city for IAEE Expo! Expo! 2015 is the real icing on the cake.
As the President & CEO of Visit Baltimore, it goes without saying that I am excited to bring the largest exhibitions and events industry together here in Baltimore. The impact of this single event will be felt for years to come in terms of future business generated and positive, national exposure. But the power of this event – and your participation – goes beyond Visit Baltimore’s sales and services platform. It is a poignant example of why the events and meetings industry matters to the Baltimore community at large.
Baltimore’s tourism industry employs more than 80,000 of our family, friends and neighbors. These residents come from all corners of the City and surrounding jurisdictions. And for every event that comes to Baltimore, those 80,000+ citizens receive job security – and our entire community is made stronger. Because meeting attendees also frequent Baltimore businesses, dine at Baltimore restaurants, and use Baltimore travel, hospitality and other service providers – revenues and associated taxes that are invested back into the community. The return doesn’t stop there. A positive Baltimore meetings experience can turn attendees into pro-Baltimore ambassadors, folks that build our destination’s brand even after they return home through word of mouth, by coming back for future leisure travel, or even being inspired (or inspiring others) to relocate here to live and to do business. The ripple effects are endless. That is the true power of our exhibitions and meetings industry.
Now, those ripples are even more easily discernable when a truly civic-minded organization like IAEE comes to town. Because not only will Expo! Expo! take time to show off our inspiring historical sites, world-class arts and attractions, booming culinary scene and diverse neighborhoods – many of which are experiencing quite a renaissance; but also, this year’s Humanity Rocks: A Celebration with a Cause will help to support One Baltimore. This public-private initiative is one of several organizations seeking and finding real solutions to the underlying socio-economic problems that Baltimore faces, as do other cities in urban America. In this way, Expo! Expo! has the power to leave a an immediately tangible footprint on Baltimore, helping to build an even stronger city for the future.
So on behalf of Visit Baltimore, the Baltimore hospitality community and the Synchronicities partnership, know that we are eager and ready to roll out the red carpet of welcome and show off all that makes Baltimore a great meetings and travel destination. Get excited and I hope to see you in Baltimore in December!