Editorial Note: Originally published in the May 2022 issue of Trade Show Executive magazine.
Next month, the Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance (ECA) will hold its Legislative Action Week on June 6-10. This virtual event unites industry advocates and leaders in our mission to effectively communicate to members of U.S. Congress the vital role that face-to-face business events play in expanding economies, as well as helping communities across the nation recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19.
The ECA was formed last year when it became abundantly clear that the exhibition industry needed a full-time legislative action government affairs program based in Washington, D.C. that could continue to build the relationships necessary to yield effective advocacy results. The ECA acts as that governing entity to champion the ongoing movement on behalf of our industry.
The ECA represents a coalition that includes the following industry organizations: Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), Destinations International, Experiential Designers and Producers Association (EDPA), Exhibition Services and Contractors Association (ESCA), International Association of Exhibitions and Events® (IAEE), International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO), Trade Show Labor Alliance, and UFI.
Legislative Action Week has stepped into the place of what was IAEE’s Exhibitions Day, which was launched in 2014. In those years, our industry has successfully advocated for legislation that has helped our industry advance in terms of promoting free and fair trade, ensuring safety and security at our events, stopping online booking scams, facilitating global travel to the U.S. including visa attainment, supporting infrastructure funding, and most recently, gaining much-needed funding for the recovery efforts from COVID-19.
This year’s Legislative Action Week will kick off on June 6 with a preview session that will provide an overview of issues our industry is currently facing, along with interviews with key policymakers and industry leaders. The remainder of the week will be spent partaking in virtual meetings with congressional leaders.
These meetings will focus on the vital steps that Congress can take to help our recovering industry reach our immediate goal of returning to the levels of success we were achieving prior to the pandemic. Our nation’s leaders can do this by providing relief to small businesses, restoring communicable disease coverage to event cancellation insurance, and supporting the full restoration of visa processing at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world.
The year-round work that the ECA does is incredibly beneficial to our industry. However, the opportunity we have each year to “show up” as an industry and put real faces to the data that the ECA provides to our lawmakers is invaluable. It is paramount to our representation in the legislative process that the trade show community makes its voice heard on Capitol Hill and an impressive showing from our community will speak volumes! I encourage each and every member of the industry to make time during June 6-10 to attend at least one of these meetings with our nation’s leaders. Visit www.exhibitionsconferencesalliance.org for more information about Legislative Action Week and to sign up for the event.
I look forward to seeing you (virtually) on Capitol Hill next month!
David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA
President & CEO