Travel Industry Coalition Reminds That Jobs Depend on Corporate Meetings

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Washington, DC – The travel and meetings industry is presenting a united front in response to a wave of corporate cancellations by reminding Congress and the public that such events are productive for businesses and also generate jobs and tax revenues.

The U.S. Travel Association and its partner organizations said the “unintended consequences” of public pressure to curb corporate events were an unwarranted loss of business for the travel and meetings industries and a decline in local tax revenues that pay for all manner of public services.

“We are extremely concerned about the unintended consequences of unnecessarily restricting corporate meetings, events and incentive travel programs,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “Business-related travel generates 2.4 million jobs, $244 billion in spending and $39 billion in tax revenue at the federal, state and local levels.”

At the same time, Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority teamed up to announce that MPI’s FutureWatch study to be released in mid-February had determined that meetings and conventions annually generate $200 billion for the U.S. economy.

Dow’s association, joined by MPI, the Professional Convention Management Association, Destination Marketing Association International and other industry groups, said the U.S. public did not want overly zealous restrictions imposed by the federal government – or by companies themselves – to hurt the entire travel sector.

“Americans expect Congress and the Obama administration to responsibly oversee the use of taxpayer dollars by companies receiving emergency government lending,” Dow said. “But Americans also expect the business community and elected leaders to protect jobs and help the country rebound as quickly as possible.”

Dow said the industry would be recommending “best practices” in the coming weeks that would stress transparency and accountability in the planning of corporate meetings and incentive events.

Bruce MacMillan, president and CEO of MPI, added that corporate travel also would be a key component of an economic turnaround. “You cannot discount the value of face-to-face business interactions and the impact that meetings have on the overall economy in our country,” he said. “Every great accomplishment in business started with some sort of meeting.”

Reach Roger Dow at (202) 408-8422 or rdow@ustravel.org; Bruce MacMillan at (972) 702-3001 or bmacmillan@mpiweb.org