Originally published by Trade Show Executive
In March, I talked about the formation of the Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance (ECA) and how it would advance the industry’s advocacy efforts. We have already experienced success with the passing of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which includes an allocation of USD $1.25 billion for the Small Business Administration’s Shuttered Venue Operators grant program. Other benefits of ARPA include economic stimulus payments to individuals; the extension of unemployment benefits for those unable to return to work due to the pandemic; the Paycheck Protection Program, which allotted USD $7.25 billion in new funding for the small business loan program and would allow more nonprofits to apply; small business tax credits that will support small businesses on the road to recovery; and additional funding for vaccinations, testing and personal protective equipment (PPE).
Now that we have the ball rolling, we are looking toward other much needed legislation as we ramp up for ECA Legislative Action Day (formerly Exhibitions Day) next month on 1-2 June. Currently on our radar is the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act, which was proposed by U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) last October. This legislation recognizes the devastating impact the pandemic has had on various sectors of our industry, and offers aid in the form of tax credits and other economic relief. Our primary goal this year on Capitol Hill will be to encourage members of Congress to support and pass this bill that will help give the business events industry the boost we need as we are in the process of hitting the restart button.
As we typically do, we will present to our legislative leaders irrefutable data demonstrating the valuable contribution our industry makes to the overall U.S. economy. For example, our industry supports more than 6.6 million Americans jobs and 1.7 million exhibitors nationwide. Given the provisions in the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act that aid workers and employers in the industry, we will be able to directly contribute to economic stimulus efforts and recovery the more our exhibitions and events are able to take place.
The format for ECA Legislative Action Day will mirror that of Exhibitions Day, therefore it is imperative that you – members of the exhibition industry – take an active role in directly communicating with members of Congress and educating them on the importance of our industry. Your participation is what makes our message so impactful. We need you to share your stories of how your exhibitions mean business, both before the pandemic and how your business has been affected by the pandemic. This year the meetings will be held virtually, which allows those who would not typically be able to attend ECA Legislative Action Day the opportunity to play an active role in the changes we want to make in this round.
I have said this before, and will continue to stress, just how powerful this initiative has become for our industry. We have spent nearly a decade advocating for a seat at the table in Washington, D.C. and the progress we have made has been very commendable, and is an ongoing call of duty for those of us who strive to keep our industry thriving. The lines of communication must remain open well beyond ECA Legislative Action Day and we must stay engaged in the advocacy process throughout the year.
Find out more about ECA Legislative Action Day and I look forward to hearing your voice next month!
David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA
President & CEO