Global Exhibitions Day and #ExhibitionsDay Rally Industry Support
Exhibitions industry professionals around the world celebrated the fourth annual Global Exhibitions Day last week, June 5. From Australia to South Africa, the celebration was driven and supported by more than 40 partner associations in 90 countries and regions.
“GED is a perfect symbol for our industry — it’s a huge success that is based on teamwork, trust, and collaboration,” said UFI President Craig Newman. “It is great to see everyone working in this industry getting involved and coming up with a range of interesting and unusual activities to promote exhibitions.”
A wide range of activities taking place globally aimed to promote exhibitions as an effective way of doing business, along with a source of myriad career opportunities.
Some of those activities included a litter-picking drive in Mumbai, an exhibition quiz and networking event in South Africa, a ceremony in Iran, distribution of food and clothing to an orphanage in Jaipur, a conference called “Exhibition Industry – Disruptor or Disruptee?” in Zagreb, and the annual #ExhibitionsDay in Washington, D.C., among others.
#ExhibitionsDay 2019 focused on industry professionals meeting with U.S. lawmakers regarding legislation that affects the exhibitions industry. More than 100 exhibitions industry colleagues participated in 100 in-person business appointments with members of Congress and/or their legislative staff, according to David DuBois, president and CEO of IAEE.
HERE is video coverage shot that day by CNTV.
The two main asks this year pertained to renaming the visa waiver program to the Secure Traveler Partnership Act of 2019 and expanding that program following the rebrand through the JOLT Act of 2019, and encouraging continued support for transportation infrastructure and the Brand USA program.
“The renaming seems like a very reasonable ask with full support,” reports Angi Van Berg, vice president of trade show sales with Louisville Tourism, who attended #ExhibitionsDay.
There was also another important takeaway that day: “I learned that no matter how comfortable you think your shoes are, your feet still hurt after a day on Capitol Hill!” says Van Berg. Still, “it’s one of the best ‘adult field trips’ you can participate in.”
More than half of the participants were first-timers this year, and the group lucked out with great weather. Dana Freker Doody, vice president of communications and public relations for The Expo Group, was pleased with the way the event gave trade show and event professionals the opportunity to directly influence policy that affects their businesses.
“The Texas delegation enjoyed meeting with some of the new members of the House from our personal districts,” says Freker Doody, who hails from Irving, Texas. “U.S. Rep. Van Taylor’s staff, in particular, was very welcoming thanks to the four-legged Sully, who took an immediate liking to IAEE’s Executive Vice President and COO Cathy Breden. Clearly, Sully is a big fan of trade shows!”
She adds, “#ExhibitionsDay is a great event for advocacy, but it also is an opportunity to build relationships with others working in our space. I love that the Experiential Designers & Producers Association contingent keeps growing because they represent another set of stakeholders in trade shows and events.”
Mark Bogdansky, senior director of meetings and events for Auto Care Association and IAEE’s advocacy committee chairperson, was also pleased with the turnout and results from #ExhibitionsDay.
“It is so important for us to go to Washington and meet with Congress about our issues — if we aren’t going to fight for ourselves, who will?” he asks. “When we talk about the $97 billion trade show industry and how every district in the country is affected by our issues, it always resonates. We may not always get the results we are looking for, but we have good, honest conversations.”
To learn more about Global Exhibitions Day, go here. To learn more about #ExhibitionsDay, including how you can get involved, go here. You can also search the hashtag on social media to see more highlights from the event this year.