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Study shows significance of the meetings and events industry to the economy

The Convention Industry Council released a new study earlier this year that showed that the U.S. meetings industry directly supports 1.7 million jobs. The study, titled “The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy,” also showed the industry contributes $106 billion to the GDP and $11.3 billion in state and local tax revenue.

The study, conducted by PwC US assisted by a team of industry researchers, spanned more than a year in research and analysis and is the first?ever study of the size and scope of its kind, according to the Council. The research quantifies the economic contributions made by the 1.8 million meetings, trade shows, conventions, congresses, incentive events and other meetings that take place across the country.

Details on the study and the 14 leading membership organizations which formed the research alliance, can be found at www.MeetingsMeanBusiness.com.

“As the nation grapples with effective ways to work its way out of a recession, the meetings industry plays a critical role in supporting jobs in communities across America, creating environments that foster innovation, consensus and business success,” said Karen Kotowski, executive director of the Convention Industry Council, the trade organization that represents the meetings sector and educates the public on its economic impact. “Two years ago, the value of meetings, one of America’s top economic and social engines, was misunderstood by governments and the public. This new research quantifies the economic significance of our sector for legislators, regulators and economists alike.”

Jobs, spending, tax revenue and GDP the 1.7 million jobs generated by the meetings industry is larger than many U.S. industries, including broadcasting and communications (1.3 million), truck and rail transportation industries (1.5 million) and computer and electronic product manufacturing (1.1 million). The industry’s 1.7 million jobs generate $60 billion in labor income and support another 4.6 million U.S. workers, including industry suppliers and those who rely on meeting output for sales and revenue.

Spending on goods and services resulting from meetings and events in the United States totals $263 billion. The majority of direct spending, $151 billion, is related to meeting planning and production, venue rental and other non-travel and tourism-related commodities; $113 billion is spent each year on lodging, food service, transportation and other travel and tourism commodities.

The report said the meetings’ $106 billion contribution to the U.S. gross domestic product is greater than auto manufacturing ($78 billion) and information and data processing services ($76 billion).

“The results of our comprehensive research demonstrate the significance of the meetings industry as a major contributor to the U.S. economy,” said Robert Canton, director of convention and tourism practice at PwC US. “New and proven research standards, as well as definitions provided by the United Nations World Tourism Organization allowed for the measurement of U.S. economic activity resulting from face?to?face meetings.”

A total of 205 million people, representing domestic and international delegates, exhibitors and organizers attend the 1.8 million meetings. Of those, 1.3 million are classified as corporate or business meetings, 270,000 are conventions, conferences or congresses, 11,000 are trade shows and 66,000 are incentive meetings. The vast majority of meetings (85 percent) were conducted at venues with lodging, generating y 117 million Americans and 5 million international attendees.

“The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy” conducted by PwC US was spearheaded by an alliance of 14 organizations representing the collective meetings, travel, exhibitions and events industries in the U.S. brought together via the Convention Industry Council (www.conventionindustry.org). “PwC” and “PwC US” refer to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership, which is a member of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited, each member firm of which is a separate legal entity.

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