Meetings Industry Plans Inaugural 'Exhibitions Day' on Capitol Hill

To educate lawmakers on the merits of meetings and events — in particular, trade shows and exhibitions — a coalition of industry organizations will host the first-ever Exhibitions Day June 16-17 in Washington, D.C., the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), announced yesterday.

Along with IAEE, partners include the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), the Exhibit Designers and Producers Association (EDPA), the Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA), the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) and the U.S. Travel Association (U.S. Travel).

“This is an important new move into the world of advocacy for IAEE and a great opportunity for members to exercise their right to participate in the political process,” IAEE Chairperson Skip Cox said in a statement. “With the involvement and support of industry members, our elected officials will come to understand what is at stake for our industry and the economy we support.”

On Exhibitions Day, industry leaders will meet with media outlets and legislators to promote the value of meetings. Specifically, they will focus on the following three issues:

The JOLT Act: The Jobs Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act is a bi-partisan bill that would increase economic growth, create jobs, generate additional tax revenue and boost U.S. exports by promoting international travel to the United States. The industry supports it, according to IAEE, because restrictions on travel and foreign participation are hurting exhibitions and events.

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP): The VWP allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States without a visa for stays of 90 days or less when they meet certain requirements. According to IAEE, accepting more countries into the program increases trade and allows more international visitors to visit U.S. events.

Government employee participation: Government employee participation at events is “undeniably valuable,” according to IAEE, which said government attendees foster the development of effective regulation, contribute to innovation that drives economic growth, and provide unique learning and training opportunities.

“Exhibitions and events industry professionals recognize the potential threat to our industry and the economy if restrictions to these programs continue, which is why it is critical for us to engage directly with lawmakers on Exhibitions Day 2014,” IAEE President and CEO David DuBois said in a statement.

For more information and registration details, visit www.exhibitionsday.org.

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