Exhibitions Day

Each June, industry professionals come together to foster relationships and build awareness with federal legislators and other policy influencers on Capitol Hill. In 2019, more than 100 members of our industry gathered in Washington, D.C. to advocate for exhibitions and events, which are a vital tool the success of our free enterprise economy. We ask you to once again join us as we meet face to face with our nation’s political leaders and give a voice to the exhibitions and events industry. Addressing the matters that impact our industry is crucial to allowing our industry to continue to do its part for our national economy. We want to incite change, and that change is only possible with you by our side.

A recap and current updates from the 2019 Exhibitions Day is below.

Exhibitions Day | June 4-5, 2019


Exhibitions Day 2019: Issues Brief 

Overarching Messaging: Create National Economic Prosperity by Enabling Business Deals

  • The ability to conduct business, whether in boardrooms or in exhibit halls, is vital to the health of our country and is a critical element to achieving our nation’s economic goals.
  • The $97 billion business to business (B2B) exhibitions industry plays an important role in facilitating these valuable business deals. Issues such as security concerns and decaying infrastructure can impede the success of these imperative face-to-face gatherings.
  • Not addressing these challenges will cost the nation and your constituents money over time. The ability to attract and sustain both international and domestic business visitors leads to tax revenue for cities and tax savings for residents.
  • As the backbone of the U.S. GDP, fair and free trade is only possible if business travel to the U.S. is properly facilitated and if the U.S. is presented as a suitable and desirable destination.
  • At the same time, we must ensure that we properly balance the promotion of the U.S. as a desired destination with proper security measures to keep business travelers safe.
  • In facilitating safety and ease of travel to the U.S., we aid access of face-to-face business meetings, exhibitions and events, thereby attracting additional investment in the U.S. from domestic and international entities.

Call to Action: When issues that affect business travel facilitation, fair and free trade, and domestic security come across your desk, we urge you to think about how they also impact the ability of your constituents to conduct business – their ability to buy and sell goods, their access to goods and services, and the opening of new opportunities for their businesses. 

Supporting Messaging

Investing in America’s Transportation Infrastructure

Overview: According to the World Economic Forum, the U.S. ranks ninth in the world in infrastructure quality. Inadequate supply of infrastructure is one of our top 10 most problematic factors for doing business. 

Our message: Due to decades of under investment in transportation infrastructure mobility to and within the U.S. has declined. The lack of transportation infrastructure investment is costing the U.S. economy millions in revenue.

  • Transportation mobility – our airports, highways, passenger rail, and transit systems are in a state of congestion and disrepair.
  • It is harder to get from point A to point B often causing people to stay home, which in turn has a higher economic impact and effects American jobs.
  • Without proper transportation infrastructure, it is extremely challenging to accommodate trade shows to [your state]. To compete with other countries the U.S. needs significant improvements.
  • The Highway Trust Fund has a shortfall of $138 billion and will be insolvent by FY22.
  • A new survey published by U.S. Travel Association finds that Americans avoided an estimated 47.5 million auto trips due to highway congestion in 2018—costing the economy $30 billion in travel spending and 248,000 American jobs.
  • S. airports have nearly $128 billion in infrastructure needs through 2021 to accommodate tremendous growth in passenger volume.

Call to Action: We urge Congress to support measures that provide greater investment in all transportation infrastructure areas.

Travel Facilitation: measures that promote business travel, generating U.S. economic growth and job creation

Secure Travel Partnership Act of 2019 (H.R. 1996)

Overview: In 2017, 23 million travelers arrived in the U.S. from Visa Wavier Program countries and generated $190 billion in economic activity. Visitors from the 38 countries that participate help generates a $77 billion trade surplus for the U.S.

Our message: We believe it’s important to rename the program to more accurately depict its security enhancements and demonstrate strong support for secure and better travel for international travelers who have already been highly vetted. Embracing policies that enhance the global business travel market will enable growth that is crucial to achieving nation’s economic goals.

  • In 2019, the House introduced H.R. 1996 to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to rename the Visa Waiver Program to Secure Travel Partnership.
  • The Visa Waiver Program does not waive Visa requirements, it simply creates a streamlined uniform process in exchange for mutually enhanced security standards between the U.S. and its partner countries.
  • The Visa Waiver Program is the gold standard in travel security because it requires heightened security operations, increased information sharing and travelers from all 38 participating countries are prescreened before boarding their inbound flights.
  • Travel between the U.S. and 38 participating countries can use the online application for travel called ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) instead of the formal VISA process.

Call to Action: We urge Congress to sign on to H.R. 1996 to the Rename the Visa Waiver Program bill to demonstrate support for secure and better travel for international travelers and to oppose any measures that could further erode America’s market share of international business travelers.

JOLT Act of 2019 (H.R. 2187)

Overview: Over 1.2 million jobs across America are directly supported by international inbound travel. For the U.S. to grow that number as well as regain and increase our share of the global travel market, it is important to improve and expand the programs we currently have in place.

Our message: The JOLT Act will update and strengthen numerous programs related to the efficiency and volume of international inbound travel and help the U.S. regain its share of the global travel market.

  • In 2019, the House introduced H.R. 2187 – To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to stimulate international travel to the United States, and for other purposes.
  • The JOLT Act provides flexibility to the Secretary of Homeland Security to admit new countries to the currently named, Visa Waiver Program.
  • The JOLT Act renames the Visa Waiver Program to Secure Travel Partnership.

Call to Action: We urge Congress to sign on to H.R. 2187 to support the vital role travel plays in supporting American job growth and the economy by signing the JOLT Act.

Protecting Brand USA

Overview: President Trump’s FY2018 budget proposal calls for the elimination of funding for Brand USA, a federally supported organization that promotes the country overseas as a business and tourist destination.

Our message: Brand USA is a bipartisan program funded by inbound airline passenger fees and private industry, so there is no cost to U.S. taxpayers.  The program’s efforts are crucial to attracting international business travel, investment, and fair and free trade.

A 2019 study by Oxford Economics shows Brand USA’s marketing efforts are generating a high return on investment (ROI) and driving significant incremental international visitation and spend, which is helping to fuel the nation’s economy.  Highlights of the study shows that the cumulative results over the past six years (FY2013 through FY2018) has helped bring:

  • The study also 6.6 million incremental visitors to the USA who spent
  • $21.8 billion on travel and fare receipts with U.S. carriers, and generated
  • $6.2 billion in federal, state, and local taxes, and
  • $47.7 billion in total economic impact, which has supported, on average,
  • Nearly 52,000 incremental U.S. jobs each year

The resulting marketing ROI was 28:1—meaning that every $1 Brand USA spent on marketing generated $28 in spend by international visitors.

Call to Action: We urge Congress to oppose any measures to defund Brand USA and recognize reduced funding as a measure that would hurt the health of our economy.

A Special Thanks to our 2019 Exhibitions Day Partners

Title Partner

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Orange County Convention Center

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Meet Up Partner

Transportation Partner

Registration Partner