Thanks to the U.S. Travel Association's Meetings Mean Business Coalition (MMB), Thursday, April 14 was something of a holiday in the meetings industry: That's when the U.S.-based organization hosted its first-ever Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID), comprising worldwide celebrations honoring the economic contributions of meetings and events in destinations across the globe.
Based on the success last spring of MMB's North American Meetings Industry Day (NAMID) -- which included 88 events honoring meetings and events in the United States, Canada, and Mexico -- GMID's new global footprint encompassed more than 100 events in more than 85 locations spanning more than 30 countries.
Related video: Global Meetings Industry Day: Planners' Thoughts on the Industry
"GMID allows meeting and events professionals from every corner of the globe to come together and show their passion and dedication to building personal relationships, driving positive business outcomes, and supporting strong communities by facilitating face-to-face meetings," MMB Co-Chair Michael Dominguez, senior vice president of corporate sales at MGM Resorts International, said on GMID. "Industry professionals know that great things happen when people come together, and today we are putting that mantra on a global stage."
Here are just a few of the ways industry advocates celebrated, united, and rallied in support of face-to-face meetings:
New York Turns Blue for Meetings
In advance of GMID, on Tuesday the Empire State Building was lit up in blue -- the color of the Meetings Mean Business Coalition -- according to NYC & Company, which also arranged for the MMB and GMID logos to be displayed Thursday on several outdoor digital billboards in Times Square (pictured above).
Industry Leaders Convene in Austin, TX
Members of 12 industry organizations gathered at the Texas State Capitol in Austin to demonstrate their support for meetings. Following a rally and press conference, a panel discussion featured Dominguez and fellow industry luminaries Paul Van Deventer, president and CEO of Meeting Professionals International (MPI); Cathy Breden, executive vice president and COO of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE); Sherrif Karamat, COO of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA); Ken Sanders, president of Freeman; and moderator Kevin Olsen, founding partner of Keyway LLC.
Meetings Go Mayoral in Phoenix
In Phoenix, Mayor Greg Stanton issued a city proclamation commemorating the importance of meetings to the local economy. He addressed an audience of more than 200 industry professionals who gathered at the Phoenix Convention Center, where celebrations also included remarks by Richard Harper, MMB co-chair and executive vice president of HelmsBriscoe; Steve Moore, president and CEO of Visit Phoenix; and John Chan, director of the Phoenix Convention Center.
Arena-Based Advocacy in Las Vegas
Las Vegas celebrated GMID at the newly opened T-Mobile Arena, the signature feature of which -- a 200-foot-wide mesh LED wall -- was emblazoned with "Las Vegas Celebrates Global Meetings Industry Day" in blue. Inside, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow delivered a keynote address to more than 200 industry advocates, who subsequently viewed a panel discussion moderated by Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) president and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter featuring executives from Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, The Venetian and The Palazzo, Wynn Resorts, and Caesars Entertainment.
MPI chapters around the world hosted 60 GMID events. Among them were the MPI France-Switzerland Chapter, which organized "The Big Tweet," a social media event whereby meeting professionals and supporters signed up to share the same pro-meetings message on Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn in unison -- all at the same time -- in multiple languages, demonstrating to the social media universe the vast size, scope, and influence of the meetings industry.
For a full list of events that took place on GMID 2016, head here.