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Unity through Advocacy

IAEE President and CEO David DuBois urges you to unite in the call to U.S. lawmakers to support beneficial policies that will help our industry advance.

Editorial Note: Originally published in the May 2023 issue of Trade Show Executive magazine.

This year’s Legislative Action Day, facilitated by the Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance (ECA), will be held on June 1st. This annual event unites industry leaders in a vital opportunity to meet with members of the U.S. Congress to advocate on the role that face-to-face business events play in the U.S. economy and on behalf of its ongoing recovery from the pandemic.

The ECA is dedicated to the recovery and advancement of the face-to-face business events industry, and represents a coalition that includes major industry organizations such as the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), Destinations International, Experiential Designers and Producers Association (EDPA), Exhibition Services and Contractors Association (ESCA), International Association of Exhibitions and Events® (IAEE), International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), PCMA, Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO), Trade Show Labor Alliance, and UFI.

This year, the ECA identified these four areas of focus for its advocacy plan: ensuring a favorable operating environment for the industry going forward; fully welcoming international exhibitors and attendees back to the U.S.; supporting industry efforts to address sustainability and climate change; and promoting government involvement in developing the industry’s future workforce.

In addition, it set these top five public policy priorities in 2023: prevent anti-growth state-level taxation of the industry; bring back communicable disease coverage to event cancelation insurance; restore visa operations to pre-pandemic levels while making visa processing more modern and efficient; encourage smart decarbonization efforts by governments while ensuring the right balance between environmental aims and industry feasibility; and support government policy and programs to attract, train, and retain the industry’s next generation workforce.

This year will mark the return of Legislative Action Day in person. I cannot stress enough the importance that we show up in Washington, D.C. in strong numbers as it is a bit of a dogfight these days for government resources and support. More than ever, we must unite and make our voices heard through this highly productive program that has proven successful since its inception in 2014, originally as IAEE Exhibitions Day.

It is incumbent upon us to educate our leaders unfamiliar with who we are about the contribution our industry makes to the overall U.S. economy, from direct economic impact to job creation and the proliferation of business, and the need for assistance in getting us back to our pre-pandemic performance levels as quickly as possible. It is our duty to remind those who are familiar with our industry about the power of exhibitions and events, and that exhibitions really do mean business.

Prior to the pandemic, our industry was achieving unprecedented levels of success and was tracking continued upward growth for years to come. The potential for us to regain that status is within reach as we have adapted and improved many of our processes as a result of the pandemic. In fact, when it comes to our industry’ digital transformation, the consensus among those I speak with is that the pandemic accelerated our development at a rate that simply would not have happened any other way. While it has been challenging and downright painful at times, we have proven that our resiliency and fortitude merits the attention of our governing leaders. There are certain things that have to happen on their end to allow us to continue moving forward on ours.

This is where each and every one of us can play an active role in making that happen. Sign up for Legislative Action Day at, and I look forward to seeing you on Capitol Hill next month!

David DuBois, CMP Fellow, CAE, FASAE, CTA
IAEE President & CEO
Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance Co-President

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