Washington, DC – More than 100 representatives of the trade show industry will march on Capitol Hill tomorrow as part of Exhibitions Day, but the lobbying effort was more than a Beltway exercise. A nationwide publicity campaign is underway as a show of support for the exhibition industry and the 110 industry members working the halls of Congress. The “Exhibitions Day: Coast to Coast” campaign was put together by SMG Convention and Exhibition Centers and included the “Exhibitions Day” logo on the signage at various convention centers and venues in 16 U.S. cities. More than half of the 16 venues are managed by SMG. The banner was also carried on social media outlets using the hashtag #ExhibitionsDay.
The entire industry has a stake in the second annual Exhibitions Day. The goal is to convince key members of the Senate and House of Representatives to get behind legislation that is important to trade shows and meetings, including the JOLT Act, Trade Promotion Authority, and burdensome restrictions on travel to conferences by federal government employees. “Our industry matters. Show the world that exhibitions do mean business,” said David DuBois, president and CEO of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), the organizers of the Exhibitions Day campaign.
DuBois said a key selling point was data from the Center for Exhibitions (CEIR) Industry Research, which pegged the value of exhibitions to the U.S. economy at $71.3 billion in 2014. In addition, B-to-B exhibitions in the U.S. drew 68.9 million attendees and hosted 2.1 million exhibiting organizations.
The economic benefits that trade shows provide to convention cities of all sizes was a key selling point for the 110 industry representatives taking part in the main event in Washington. Trade Show Executive is an official sponsor of Exhibitions Day and was represented in Washington by its intrepid Los Angeles-based Advertising Manager Linda Braue, who in keeping with the IAEE’s format, was part of a team of delegates who called on lawmakers from California to pump up enthusiasm for supporting shows benefiting the Golden State and the nation.