Originally published by Trade Show Executive
As a member-driven organization, IAEE places strong emphasis on issues that affect the exhibitions and events industry. Advocacy is a key pillar in our strategic plan because the actions taken by our nation’s and global leaders have ripple effects that deeply impact our ability to productively drive our industry forward. Not only is forward motion what any industry wants, but it’s a direction our industry has become accustomed to.
Each year, we learn from credible sources such as the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) that the vital role our industry plays in the U.S. and global economies. By now, you have most likely heard that CEIR economist Dr. Allen Shaw reports the B2B exhibitions industry as having contributed more than $98 billion toward the U.S. GDP in 2018.
The domestic and global outlooks go hand in hand; it’s an ongoing dance between what happens at home and what happens abroad. As such, it is imperative that we tend to our responsibility toward our business environment in the U.S. and the only way to do that is to maintain a strong presence on Capitol Hill. In other words, we must consistently advocate on behalf of our industry.
Exhibitions Day has become a powerful tool for us to do that. However, the course of action does not end in June each year. Advocacy is an ongoing call of duty for those of us who strive to keep our industry thriving. Yes, we present our stance to our nation’s leaders in a single day but the communications must continue throughout the legislative process. The work continues and you play an important role in its success.
Even if you did not attend Exhibitions Day, you can still make a difference! Contact your congressional representatives and ask them to act on our legislative priorities. A simple phone call or email is all it takes to do your part in protecting our (and your) interests. Here’s what you need to know:
America’s Transportation Infrastructure
In June we asked Congress to support funding improvements and additions to America’s transportation infrastructure. There is now a new bill in the Senate on infrastructure, S. 2302, which is sponsored by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) and currently has three co-sponsors. S.2302 is assigned to the Senate – Environment and Public Works Committee.
Protecting Brand USA
We called for protecting Brand USA, the federally supported organization that promotes America overseas as a business and tourist destination. There is now a new bill in the Senate to reauthorize Brand USA called the Brand USA Extension Act, S. 2203. This bill is sponsored by Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and currently has five co-sponsors. S. 2203 is assigned to the Senate – Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
There is also a new House bill called the Travel Promotion, Enhancement and Modernization Act of 2019, H.R. 3851, which reauthorizes funding for Brand USA. This bill is sponsored by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) and currently has seven co-sponsors. H.R. 3851 is assigned to the House – Energy and Commerce, Homeland Security Committee.
Worldwide business travel is essential to our industry, and this year we supported two different bills that address facilitating international business travel. The Secure Travel Partnership Act of 2019, H.R. 1996, calls for renaming the Visa Waiver Program to demonstrate support for secure and better travel for international travelers. It also opposes any measures that could further erode America’s market share of international business travelers. This bill is sponsored by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL-5) and currently has 11 co-sponsors. H.R. 1996 is assigned to the House – Energy and Commerce, Homeland Security Committee.
The JOLT Act of 2019, H.R. 2187, also renames the Visa Waiver Program and supports the vital role travel plays in supporting American job growth and the economy. This bill is sponsored by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL-5) and currently has 10 co-sponsors.
Your voice matters and now is the time to use it! We need our collective voice to ring through the halls of Capitol Hill, and it only takes a few minutes to add yours to the choir. Complete information on how to contact your representatives and sample communications you can use are posted at www.exhibitionsday.org.
Let’s keep up the good work in reinforcing that exhibitions mean business!
David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA
President & CEO