Originally published by Trade Show Executive
“The most successful politician is he who says what the most people are thinking most often in the loudest voice.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Next month marks the sixth annual industry-wide advocacy initiative known as Exhibitions Day, which will be held on June 4-5 in Washington, D.C. As we prepare to meet with U.S. lawmakers about the business of exhibitions and events, I have been thinking about what it means to act as “the voice of the industry,” and what would make that call to action relevant to an individual who may not feel his or her single voice matters in the overall direction our industry takes.
The truth of the matter is that we are experiencing a time of great disconnectedness between our policy makers and their biggest stakeholders – you and me. Last year’s Edelman Trust Barometer revealed that the U.S. placed last among the 28 global markets polled regarding public trust in their nation’s government.
It would be easy to allow this discontent to drive a laissez-faire attitude toward your desire or willingness to participate in our democratic process. However, it is the very reason why each and every one of us should push even harder to make sure we act on our behalf, especially as an industry that is greatly affected by the decisions made on Capitol Hill.
In order to do this, we must come together to make sure Congress hears and understands our needs. This is exactly why Exhibitions Day was created and what makes it such a powerful medium for making your voice heard. Exhibitions Day provides us the means with which to defend and protect our dynamic industry!
Through this event, we have built a coalition of industry partners and stakeholders that serve to educate and influence members of Congress on the issues that deeply affect our ability to conduct business effectively.
And when I say members of Congress, I am talking about all the districts, big and small. One of the most important things to remember is that exhibitions and events provide every congressional district with the marketing vehicle that drives the buying and selling of goods across every sector of the U.S. economy – $91 billion worth annually, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research. Which means that every member of Congress should be interested in what we have to say.
This is where you come in. We need as many constituents as possible to make sure we reach every member of Congress. Your presence is crucial in meeting our goal of broadening and deepening support from our lawmakers, which is why your voice matters. Now that you know why you should be at Exhibitions Day, let me tell what you will be advocating for.
2019 will build upon last year’s efforts to increase federal investment in all infrastructure projects. Among which, we are asking Congress to establish a travel mobility program that provides states with the funding needed to improve all modes of transportation, as effective travel is an absolute “must” for our industry.
Last year, the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association won a court case against an unaffiliated travel agency for using their show in an online booking scam. We support proposed legislation that fights these scams as we have for several years now.
We are supporting the bill to rename the Visa Waiver Program to the Secure Travel Partnership (H.R. 1996). This new name more accurately reflects the program’s heightened security operations, such as increased information sharing and improved traveler prescreening from its 38 participating countries. Given that travelers from these countries help generate a $77 billion trade surplus for the U.S., it is important to emphasize the benefits this program brings to our economy (and our industry).
We will be asking for support of the JOLT Act (H.R. 2187), which amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to stimulate international tourism to the U.S. This act will allow for flexibility in adding new countries to the program, which hasn’t been done since 2012. Again, this falls in line with the international scope of our industry and the need to facilitate travel.
Which is why we also support Brand USA, whose mission is to increase incremental international visitation, spend, and market share to fuel the nation’s economy and enhance the image of the USA worldwide.
Follow the progress of this year’s Exhibitions Day at www.exhibitionsday.org as well as secure your spot at this year’s meetings with members of Congress. I look forward to making sure your voice matters on Capitol Hill next month!
David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA
President & CEO