Originally published by Trade Show Executive May 2017 Edition
Last month, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) released its annual CEIR Index Report, a detailed review of the U.S. industry’s performance over the previous year as well as a preview of what to expect over the next three years in comparison to the overall U.S. economy. For the most part, the overall economy has kept a slow and steady upward pace, which the majority of our industry’s sectors have mirrored. Although some sectors experienced a decline in 2016, exhibitions and events increased from a $77 billion per year industry to contributing $80 billion to the U.S. GDP in 2016.
It comes as no surprise to those of us who genuinely understand the impact of our industry that we are a formidable contributor to the nation’s economic growth. But the understanding must extend beyond our own business “universe” in order to continue the upward trends we have enjoyed over the last seven consecutive years. More importantly, it must extend to the governing entities that determine much of what affects any business universe. This is why being involved in the legislative process and advocating on behalf of your industry is important. We, as an industry, must make sure that Capitol Hill knows exactly who we are and what is important to us. This is the opportunity that Exhibitions Day offers – the chance to raise a unified voice to members of Congress and work in our best interest as an industry.
Organizations representing show organizers, vendors, venues, trade publications, destination representatives – anyone and everyone who holds a stake in our future – have joined in the effort to educate Congressional members and staff on why our industry is powerful and weigh in on issues that affect us. Hot buttons such as visa acquisitions, overtime regulations, piracy and booking scams, and travel bans significantly affect how we do business. As such, it is imperative that we “show up” when it comes to making sure our legislators have a clear understanding of how their decisions will affect us.
And “show up” we have. Since the launch of this initiative in 2014, no less than 100 industry members each year have heeded the call to represent our best interests. Last year, we had more than 100 advocates making a difference. Today we have 21 industry organizations supporting Exhibitions Day – and to think that we started with only seven partner organizations! What this tells me is that we are on the right track with Exhibitions Day, along with the Global Exhibitions Day, which was added last year as industry members in more than 60 countries celebrated the importance of our industry and its effect on a global scale.
This year’s Exhibitions Day will take place on 6-7 June concurrently with Global Exhibitions Day. As I mentioned in March, we are collaborating with Voices in Advocacy® Founder Roger Rickard on this year’s points of interest to present to Congress members, and will rely on our industry voices to deliver the information. You still have time to register for this event. Visit www.exhibitionsday.org for complete information including video coverage and photos of last year’s activities.
And if you cannot attend the event, you can still advocate at the local level! Remember that the Exhibitions Mean Business Campaign is always open and ready to hear your success stories about how exhibitions and events affect communities. Find out more at www.exhibitionsmeanbusiness.org, including how to submit your testimonial and make a financial donation.
Be the voice of your industry! I hope to see you on Capitol Hill next month.
David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA
President & CEO