Industry Unites to Spotlight the Power of Global Exhibitions

June 7, 2021
Industry Unites to Spotlight the Power of Global Exhibitions

Trade show, exhibition and the event professionals took a moment to celebrate the industry’s worth and influence before a grand kickoff of shows begins to flood the global marketplace.

Organizers from about 110 countries and regions participated in Global Exhibition Day via social media, meetings, videos, webinars and contests. The message was simple: “exhibitions are the fastest of fast tracks to economic recovery,” noted a press release distributed by UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry.

Meanwhile, in a more targeted campaign, nearly 170 influential industry advocates petitioned leading U.S. lawmakers to support the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act, legislation that, among other benefits, eases tax burdens to facilitate the complete return of business events, conferences and trade shows.

Organized by the Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance, Legislative Action Day kicked off with a webinar featuring one senator and three members of Congress:

  • Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nevada
  • Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nevada
  • Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Illinois
  • Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Indiana

“Our industry has tremendous advocates, and every single one of their voices is critical in helping get all of us back to business and back to work nationwide,” said Tommy Goodwin, ECA’s vice president of government affairs. “We thank all of the industry leaders who were part of ECA Legislative Action Day and encourage everyone across the industry to reach out to their members of Congress and encourage them to support the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act.”

One of the pandemic’s silver linings is that it has led to coalitions between would-be competitors to advocate for the events industry.

“GED 2021 definitely is a unification of the industry, presenting the opportunity to share hope and optimism, and to focus on the important role of exhibitions in reconnecting and rebuilding communities and economies,” said UFI President Anbu Varathan. “We’ve seen thousands of event professionals celebrating across the globe, and saying how proud they are to be part of the industry and how much they value face-to-face events. This memorable day raises awareness, as we demonstrate our passion, purpose and power!” 

Exhibitions typically generate $551 billion in business sales annually, and visitor and exhibition costs add another $334 billion in tourism-related dollars. Many destinations are banking on the full-scale recovery of events over the next few years. All eyes will be on Las Vegas this month, as it reopens with World of Concrete and a series of additional events, including MPI’s World Education Congress.

While there is positive momentum, work remains. Attendance figures are not likely to match pre-pandemic levels and the hospitality industry is struggling to fill needed job vacancies as an influx of leisure and business travelers make up for lost time.

Goodwin called for ECA members to continue communications with legislative leaders to support the hospitality bill. 

Said Kai Hattendorf, UFI’s CEO. “We are business event professionals, and the best prepped sector in the world to set up and run exhibitions and business events safely, with top-class procedures in place. Exhibitions are ready for you, and are better than ever!”


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Partner Voices

As event professionals and destinations adjust, adapt and evolve in these uncharted waters, it is imperative that substantial resources be put in place for all of the people responsible for planning and executing trade shows, expositions and conventions. An example is Mohegan Sun, which built an industry-leading, COVID-19 Resource Center with a combination of pictures from recently held successful events (the property reopened on May 1, 2020) along with several widely available and informative documents, such as an evolving operational framework: