Behind the Economic Significance Study

What is the economic value of the meetings and events industry?

PwC’s Robert Canton, with Roger Dow, U.S. Travel; Deborah Sexton, PCMA; Michael Gehrisch, DMAI; Bruce MacMillan, MPI; John Graham, ASAE; and Joseph McInerney, AH&LA.

Two years after the meetings industry’s allied organizations got all Five Families (as a huge fan of “The Godfather,” I mean that as a compliment) on the question of figuring out, once and for all, the true value of meetings and conventions, they have their answer: $263 billion. That jaw-dropping number was front and center at the press conference in Washington, D.C., this afternoon where the Convention Industry Council (CIC) presented the results of its landmark new study, The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy. Conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), with support from an alliance of 14 meetings- and travel-industry organizations, the study found that meetings contribute $263 billion in direct spending and 1.7 million job to the U.S. economy every year — not to mention $106 billion to U.S. GDP.

But the study, while exhaustive in scope and execution, is only the beginning. PwC’s Robert Canton was joined at today’s press conference by U.S. Travel’s Roger Dow, PCMA’s Deborah Sexton, DMAI’s Michael Gehrisch, MPI’s Bruce MacMillan, ASAE’s John Graham, and AH&LA’s Joseph McInerney — all of whom stressed that this information was a long time coming, and that the next step is to make good use of it. “We as an industry took for granted that [people understood that] face-to-face meetings are important,” Graham said. “That was flat-out wrong.” Added Sexton: “This data did not exist. … The economy is picking up, and it appears our industry is picking up, but the industry needs to be understood. I don’t think it’s over just because the research is.”

Look for a comprehensive breakdown of the study’s results in the March issue of Convene. And hit that link above for a whole mess of information, including a toolkit for putting these amazing numbers to work on behalf of meeting professionals everywhere.

Christopher Durso

Christopher Durso formerly was executive editor of Convene.