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February 13, 2014

How Your Meetings Business Adds to the U.S. Economy

The new Meetings Mean Business campaign that launched at PCMA Convening Leaders is already seeing some notable initiatives. MPI released a commercial emphasizing the economic benefits of conferences and events, and a new report backs up the campaign's mission statement with some impressive numbers.

Following a recent preview of some figures, the Convention Industry Council released its latest data on the Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy this week. An update to a 2009 study, these new figures show significant increases in meeting participants, tax contribution and job growth from 2009 to 2012.

The Numbers

During the 2012 calendar year, 1.83 million meetings were held in the US, attended by 225 million participants, providing more than $115 billion in contribution to GDP to fuel the economy. Meetings contribution to GDP surpasses that of the air transportation, motion picture, sound recording, performing arts and spectator sport industries. 

Meetings also generated $88 billion in federal, state and local taxes to fund and support communities across the country. The majority of meeting participants in 2012 traveled 50 miles or more to attend a meeting—consuming hotel rooms, restaurant meals and transportation services, positively impacting cities and businesses across the country. As a coalition member of Meetings Mean Business, CIC and this research will be a part of the broader campaign to define and understand the link between meetings and business success.

The study identified growth in a number of areas over the three years. Compared to the 2009 data:

*Participant volume at meetings and events increased by 10 percent;
*Meetings’ contribution to GDP increased by almost 9 percent;
*The industry’s contribution to federal, state and local tax dollars increased by 9.6 percent, providing more than $28 billion in tax receipts; and
*The industry stimulated job growth with an 8.3 percent increase, providing jobs for more than 1.7 million Americans.

RELATED: Industry Associations Unite to Promote Value of Meetings

The Value of Meetings

“The data proves organizations continue to value and place a priority on face-to-face meetings, even during a recovering economy,” said Karen Kotowski (pictured left), chief executive of the Convention Industry Council, in a statement. “Total economic output of meetings was valued at $770.4 billion dollars in 2012... Not only does that mean more meetings held--they were attended by more people.” 

This, she continued, means more jobs throughout the industry. “Meetings increased employment at a time when many industries didn’t have the same opportunity. In 2012, meetings employed nearly 1.8 million people. That translates to 8.3 percent more jobs created by meetings in 2012 than in 2009, nearly double the average employment growth rate during that time.”

An executive summary of the research is available at www.significancestudy.org.

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