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February 22, 2018

Research: Meetings Industry Is Critical to a Healthy Economy

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Face-to-face meetings and events play a major role in boosting the U.S. economy, officials from the Meetings Mean Business Coalition (MMBC) told International Meetings Review on a recent media call. Adam Sacks, founder and president of Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company, and Susan Robertson, executive vice president of the American Society of Association Executives and chair of the Events Industry Council, discussed the MMBC’s latest research on the economic impact of meetings and events. 

According to the new report, the meetings industry generated $325 billion in direct spending in 2016, and $845 billion in business sales. That represents a contribution of $446 billion in GDP and $104 billion in federal, state and local taxes. Breaking it down by household, it represented $879 in offset taxes per U.S. household. 

1.9 million meetings were held in 2016, with 251 million participants. On average, every 43 meeting participants created direct spending that supported one additional U.S. job. That means the meetings sector supported more direct jobs than many large manufacturing sectors, including machinery, food, automobiles and chemicals, as well as more jobs than telecommunications and oil and gas extraction. Every dollar spent on face-to-face meetings and events created an extra $1.60 for the U.S. economy. 

“The report proves what anecdotally we already knew to be true: the meetings sector is critical to a healthy and thriving national economy,” said Paul VanDeventer, president and CEO of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and co-chair of MMBC. “The services provided by the meetings industry often go unnoticed, but the impact is unmistakable. This report confirms that meetings play a critical role in connecting people and driving business results across the country.”

Business services was the industry most impacted by meetings in 2016, with $196.3 billion in total economic output. The finance, insurance, and real estate industry followed with $141.1 billion in total economic output, followed by the manufacturing industry with $92.6 billion in total output.
Other industries that were positively impacted by face-to-face meetings and events include:

  • Food & Beverage: Meeting organizers and hosts spent $48 billion to provide food and beverage services at meetings.
  • Hotels & Lodging: Meetings generated 300 million room nights annually, representing nearly $50 billion of spending on accommodations.
  • Travel & Tourism: Meetings-related travel expenses represented 13.2 percent of total travel and tourism spending in the U.S.

The full report is available here. 

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