Business News

Global Meetings Day Puts Spotlight on Power of Face-to-Face

Skift Take

The event industry was celebrated across the globe through events that focused on connection and collaboration. Advocacy, research and a new relief funding legislation were top of the agenda.

Orange County Convention Center bathed in blue, MMBC’s signature color, in celebration of the power of face-to-face meetings and events. 

On Friday, the international meetings and events community gathered to celebrate Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID), the international day of advocacy, led by Meetings Mean Business (MMB) and the U.S. Travel Association (USTA).

According to MMB, nearly 40 million impressions reaching more than 7 million worldwide users across the world were garnered, in addition to hundreds of live events held in more than 25 countries including Canada, Poland, Kenya, Japan, Italy, Malaysia, UK, and Chile, among others.

From virtual, broadcast and livestream, to in-person and hybrid, connecting and collaborating was the primary focus of this year’s event. And while the numbers seem extensive, it was the grassroots efforts many found most impressive. “The community activations and this real genuine desire to take this day on and do something meaningful with it – this was the intention of GMID all along,” said Amy Calvert, CEO of the Events Industry Council (EIC).

In conjunction with GMID, EIC launched the data collection phase of its Global Economic Significance of Business Events survey, in collaboration with Oxford Economics to quantify the contributions made by the business events sector to the global economy.

The timing couldn’t have been more opportune as on GMID, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Relief for Restaurants and other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act of 2022. The legislation would provide $13 billion in desperately needed funding for a new Hard Hit Industries Award Program that grants lifesaving capital to hard-hit small businesses across all industries, including the events space. This funding still needs to be passed by the Senate.

“Small businesses are critical to ensuring a strong post-pandemic business events industry nationwide, which is why today’s vote in the House of Representatives was so important,” said Hervé Sedky, Emerald Holding Inc. president and CEO and chair of the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA) board.

Meetings and Events Mean Business

Many destinations, such as Las Vegas, used the timing of GMID to demonstrate the critical importance of meetings and events to the local economy.

On GMID, Las Vegas announced that since the return of in-person trade shows and events in June of 2021, it has welcomed 2.2 million convention attendees citywide, packing $11.4 billion in Southern Nevada’s coffers. And with more than $4.5 billion in projected investments over the next two years, the city’s local inventory will add 7,000 more hotel rooms and 791,000 square feet of convention space to its existing inventory.

Since the summer of 2020, Orlando has hosted more than 200 live events with hundreds on the calendar for the remainder of this year alone. Fiscal year 2021-2022 looks even more promising as the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) has 140 projected events on its books set to welcome 1.4 million estimated attendees, bringing $2.4 billion in direct economic impact.

New York City honored GMID by bringing meeting planners to Javits Center which, along with several iconic landmarks, was bathed in blue, the Meetings Mean Business Coalitions’ signature color.

“With 95 percent of adult New Yorkers vaccinated, it is a perfect time to come together again and share ideas that can move our economy – and our industry – forward,” Alan Steel, President and CEO of the Javits Center, said.