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This Just In

Strong Start to 2024 Marked by Successful Industry Advocacy Efforts

MADDY RYLEY, MANAGING EDITOR
US Capitol building

CHICAGO — The Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance’s (ECA) efforts are off to a strong start in 2024 with the introduction and finalization of key pieces of legislation and rules impacting the trade show industry.

This year, ECA is focused on its various public policy priorities and other legislation that could impact trade shows and business events, such as opposing proposals to tax digital advertising in New York, Tennessee, Nebraska and the District of Columbia.

Along with ECA’s advocacy efforts in 2024, Exhibitions Industry Awareness Week is taking place Feb. 20-23, hosted by the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE). The virtual event will feature the six organizations involved in the Exhibitions Industry Collective — IAEE, ECA, Exhibition Services and Contractors Association (ESCA), Experiential Designers and Producers Association (EDPA), International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) and the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO).

“ECA’s membership is comprised of industry associations that are all doing important work when it comes to the industry’s priorities: workforce development, sustainability, and health and safety. Through the Exhibitions Industry Collective, ECA looks forward to amplifying all the great work of these associations, such as ESCA’s new standard safety signage,” said Tommy Goodwin, Vice President at ECA.

Anti-Impersonation Fraud Rule Finalized

The Federal Trade Commission finalized its Government and Business Impersonation Rule targeting scammers that impersonate businesses and government entities.

Under the new rule, the FTC can directly file federal court cases to force scammers to return money made from impersonation scams, including those that use business logos when communicating with consumers online or by mail, falsely imply business affiliation by using terms that are known to be affiliated with a business and spoof business emails and web addresses.

ECA and industry partners have long been advocating for stronger tools to go after such scammers, since business events have seen hotel reservation scams and attendee list sale scams impact their attendees.

“Trade shows have been the target of scammers for many years. With this new rule, the FTC is finally saying enough is enough! ECA is glad to see this rule on the books, and we hope the FTC is vigorous in its enforcement efforts,” Goodwin said.

The Government and Business Impersonation Rule will become effective 30 days from the date it is published in the Federal Register.

Related. The New Exhibitions Industry Collective: Six Industry Organizations Join Forces

New Visa Bill Introduced

A new bill was recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, aimed at allowing the U.S. State Department’s Consular Affairs Bureau greater flexibility to use money collected from visa and passport fees to address the backlog in processing visas.

Introduced by Rep. Dina Titus from Nevada and Rep. María Elvira Salazar from Florida, the VISITOR Act would give Consular Affairs the ability to use funds to make needed technological upgrades at consular posts, build out infrastructure for processing at sites with high volume and hire more personnel to conduct visa adjudications.

“ECA is all in when it comes to our advocacy in support of further reducing visa wait times,” Goodwin said. “Whether it’s securing additional resources for the State Department or smart policy proposals like the VISITOR Act — which would enable the State Department to make needed technology upgrades, hire more personal to conduct visa adjudications, and build out additional visa processing infrastructure — ECA fully supports any and all efforts to get rid of these visa backlogs and make sure that they never happen again.”

The act would also set the goal of interviewing 80% of all nonimmigrant visa applications (including those seeking business visas) within three weeks of receiving their applications for the State Department.

2024 Legislative Action Day

The ECA 2024 Legislative Action Day will take place May 30 in Washington, D.C., bringing advocates from the business events industry to Capitol Hill to meet with law and policymakers.

This year’s advocacy efforts will be aligned with ECA’s public policy agenda, and more detailed information about the Legislative Action Day priorities will be coming out in the coming weeks, according to Goodwin.

Reach Tommy Goodwin at tommy.goodwin@exhibitionsconferencesalliance.org

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