• Exhibitions Day Issues See Progress on Capitol Hill

    Thanks to your efforts during Exhibitions Day, the exhibitions industry and the Exhibitions Mean Business advocacy campaign have received major wins relating to Brand USA and airport infrastructure funding:

    Brand USA
    Earlier this summer, Congressional subcommittees in both the House and Senate have voted to keep Brand USA fully funded, and its proceeds would not be redirected to the Customs and Border Protection as recommended by President Trump.

    Back in May, President Trump submitted his FY2018 budget proposal to Congress. The proposal called for the elimination of funding for Brand USA, a federally supported organization that promotes the country overseas as a business and tourist destination. Because of its importance in marketing the U.S. as a strong and safe destination for both business and leisure travel, Exhibitions Day 2017 attendees argued that Brand USA is, first and foremost, a bipartisan program funded by airline passenger fees and private industry with no impact on U.S. taxpayer money. The program’s efforts are crucial to attracting international tourism, investment and fair and free trade, and was responsible for adding $8.9 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016 according to Oxford Economics.

    Clearing the House Appropriations Committee hurdle is a crucial step to ensuring Brand USA is fully funded for the next fiscal year.

    Airport Infrastructure
    In July, the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously backed legislation that boosts funding for the Department of Transportation. Within this legislation is the lifting of the federal cap of the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) from $4.50 to $8.50, which is precisely the request we made on Exhibitions Day when we advocated for the Airport Infrastructure bill (HR 1265). You can read more about it on The Hill.

    Exhibitions Day attendees argued that the Passenger Facility Charge was simply outdated, having not been changed since 2000 and has never accounted for today’s inflation rates or capacity needs. By changing the PFC cap from $4.50 to $8.50, airports will be able to generate billions of dollars in much-needed revenue to conduct infrastructure improvements.

    The bill has now been placed on the Senate legislative calendar, which means there is still plenty of work remaining as the budget debate will continue on Capitol Hill.

    These two developments are a true testament to the importance of grassroots advocacy initiatives and the value in can bring to an entire industry. Now is the time to continue our advocacy efforts beyond our annual Exhibitions Day and continue pushing our Congressional leaders to support our cause. We urge you to reach out to your senators and representatives and ask them to continue supporting Brand USA, airport infrastructure funding and other initiatives that benefit the exhibitions industry. If you would like information as to how you can make a difference, please visit the Advocacy Center webpage on the Exhibitions Mean Business website for toolkits and guides for how you can continue promoting these key issues.