On Capitol Hill: 140 Meetings Advocates, 118 Meetings, 4 Key Issues

The second-annual Exhibitions Day brought the meetings industry to Capitol Hill

Exhibitions Day Banner_FINALClaire Repass, CMP,  manager for communications for Social Tables, sent us this report about the lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C., earlier this week. 

On Tuesday, June 9, Capitol Hill welcomed the second annual Exhibitions Day by hosting more than 140 suppliers, buyers, and planners, who took part in 118 meetings with officials from both the House and Senate to advocate on behalf of the exhibitions industry.

Exhibitions Day is the brainchild of the Exhibitions Mean Business (EMB) campaign,  which launched in 2011 “to unify and give a collective voice to the exhibitions and events industry and better advocate the benefits of face-to-face meetings to business growth and economic development.”

Representatives came from all walks of the industry, including PCMA, exhibitions experience powerhouses GES and Fern, research think tank CEIR, CVBs, including Dallas, Cleveland, and Louisville, and technology firms like Exhibit Surveys and Social Tables.

Those who took part went in well prepared: IAEE CEO & President David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA, reviewed the benchmark study, The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy with participants, and Voices in Advocacy Founder Roger Rickard went over best practices for a successful Hill visit.

Exhibitions Day Logo

Representatives lobbied around these specific issues:

  1. Passage of H.R. 1401 – the JOLT Act

H.R. 1401: The Jobs Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act of 2015 is a bipartisan issue that would stimulate international tourism to the United States by strengthening and expanding the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), now renamed the Secure Travel Partnership (STP) Program to more accurately reflect the purpose of the initiative.

  1. Support for Open Skies Agreements

Open Skies agreements set the standard of operations for flights into and out of the United States. These agreements eliminate government control over routing, frequency and pricing, and allow free and open market competition.

  1. Support for Trade Promotion Authority

The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) is a measure that will significantly strengthen America’s overall travel economy by serving as an essential tool for negotiating trade agreements. Specifically, TPA helps ensure a rules-based system for two-way trade and it helps ensure that American workers and businesses, including travel-related businesses, get the fairest deal out of new trade agreements.

  1. Advocating The Importance of Supporting Government Attendance at Exhibitions

Government meetings and related event travel are critical to ensuring federal employees are able to do their jobs as effectively as possible, while also helping extend support towards encouraging economic growth and job creation.

“We are a meetings and events company that just happens to provide software,” said Social Tables’ CEO Dan Berger.. “It is our belief that we have a responsibility to invest in the future of our industry by impacting reform that is critical to the growth of our industry. When the opportunity to lobby presented itself, we couldn’t say yes quickly enough.”

If you’d like to learn more about how you can be involved in a future Exhibitions Day, please visit the IAEE website.

Barbara Palmer

Barbara Palmer is senior editor of Convene.