• Exhibitions Day from the Eyes of an Attendee

    By: Carrie Ferenac, President of CNTV


    That’s the best word I can come up with to describe how I feel after Exhibitions Day.  I was one of more than 100 professionals who met with members of Congress on the importance of our industry… and boy, is it important!

    First, we spent a few hours learning about the key issues with Roger Rickard and US Travel Association.  They know their stuff.   The issues were new to me, but by the end of the orientation, I was ready to rock ‘n roll.

    Bright and early, we headed to the Hill and had our first meeting with Senator Bill Nelson’s office.  The staffers were incredibly well versed, and open to our ideas.  We had a chance to thank them for supporting the Trade Promotion Authority, and to share our ideas about the Jobs Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act and Open Skies.  (See why we needed an orientation??).


    We even got to meet with someone from Senator Marco Rubio’s office.   The guy is running for President, so I’m sure his staff is busy, but not too busy to hear about the importance of our industry.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if the leader of the free world supported exhibitions and events??


    I was so impressed with the Florida contingency. Brad Williams from SPI and Ryan Strowger with IAPPA are true professionals. They nailed it meeting after meeting.  They rattled off numbers about how their shows impact the Florida economy and made a real impression on the Florida delegation. I was in awe, and excited about the impact of their shows.  I grew up in Orlando, and now I’m a business owner there.  No doubt CNTV’s growth is directly related to the growth of the trade show industry, and the future looks bright.

    Throughout the day, we were joined by Scott Crawford from GES, Vinnie Polito and Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes from MDG, Wayne Crawford with CNTV and Rosa Mendoza from Ft. Lauderdale CVB. That’s an impressive group of people!

    We walked (and walked, and walked) from the Senate to the House and back, meeting with members of Congress about the importance of exhibitions and events.  Even got to ride the Senate Subway underground.  Who knew that was a thing??  Have you had lunch in the basement of the Senate?  I can now say I have!  I felt like a kid in a candy store, and I was making a difference.

    I’d like to thank David Dubois, Megan Tanel, Nicole Bowman and all the amazing folks at IAEE for organizing the event.  Their passion for the industry is contagious…. And, since they spearhead the Exhibitions Mean Business campaign throughout the year, there’s always time to get involved.  I’m proud to be an IAEE member, and more energized than ever about our incredible industry.

  • 100 Advocates, 99 Meetings: A Look at Exhibitions Day 2015

    By: Claire Harrington, CMP

    From the Social Tables Events and Hospitality Blog

    On Tuesday, June 9, Capitol Hill welcomed the second annual Exhibitions Day by hosting over 100 suppliers, buyers and planners who ventured to the nation’s capital for 99 meetings with officials from both the House and Senate to represent exhibition professionals nationwide.

    Exhibitions Day is the brainchild of the Exhibitions Mean Business (EMB) campaign, which was launched in 2011 “to unify and give a collective voice to the exhibitions and events industry and better advocate the benefits of face-to-face meetings to business growth and economic development.”

    IAEE CEO & President David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA, led the agenda with a review of theThe Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy, then introduced Voices in Advocacy Founder Roger Rickard, who reviewed best practices for a successful Hill visit.

    The goals of Exhibitions Day 2015 were threefold:

    1. Raise awareness about the industry as a whole among government and other influential audiences.
    2. Educate our nation’s leaders about the value and impact of exhibitions and events on cities and communities across the United States.
    3. Help government officials to be more cognizant of our industry and its relationship to “their work.

    We accomplished these goals by lobbying on the following issues pertinent to our industry:

    1. Passage of H.R. 1401 – the JOLT Act

    H.R. 1401 – The Jobs Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act of 2015 is a bipartisan issue that would stimulate international tourism to the United States by strengthening and expanding the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), now renamed the Secure Travel Partnership (STP) Program to more accurately reflect the purpose of the initiative.

    1. Support for Open Skies Agreements

    Open Skies agreements set the standard of operations for flights into and out of the United States. These agreements eliminate government control over routing, frequency and pricing, and allow free and open market competition. As a result, Open Skies agreements stand as a vital tool to promote fair competition between air carriers and protect customers from unfair pricing. Open Skies agreements frees carriers to provide more affordable, convenient and efficient air service to consumers, promoting increased travel and trade and spurring high-quality job opportunity and economic growth.


    1. Support for Trade Promotion Authority

    The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) is a measure that will significantly strengthen America’s overall travel economy by serving as an essential tool for negotiating trade agreements. Specifically, TPA helps ensure a rules-based system for two-way trade and it helps ensure that American workers and businesses, including travel-related businesses, get the fairest deal out of new trade agreements.

    1. Advocating The Importance of Supporting Government Attendance at Exhibitions

    Government meetings and related event travel are critical to ensuring federal employees are able to do their jobs as effectively as possible, while also helping extend support towards encouraging economic growth and job creation.

    Representation came from all walks of the industry, including exhibitions experience powerhouses Freeman, GES and Fern, research think tank CEIR, visitors & conventions bureaus including Dallas, Cleveland, and Louisville, and technology firms like Exhibit Surveys and Social Tables.

    We are a meetings and events company that just happens to provide software,” said Social Tables’ CEO Dan Berger. “It is our belief that we have a responsibility to invest in the future of our industry by impacting reform that is critical to the growth of our industry. When the opportunity to lobby presented itself, we couldn’t say yes quickly enough.”

    If you’d like to learn more about how you can be involved in a future Exhibitions Day, please visit the IAEE website.

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