Orange County Convention Center

Understand the Issues

Exhibitions Mean Business is focused on issues and legislation that impact our industry, our members and our communities. These issues will evolve and change over time, but it’s up to all of us as an industry to ensure that our voice is heard.

Over the past 7 years, Exhibitions Mean Business has lent its voice to issues that affect business events. Below you will find updates on key legislative action items and their progress to date.

Our Voices Mattered: Success Stories

Watch this space as we report on wins and successes at the federal, state and local levels. Let us know what’s happening in your community.

COVID-19 Recovery

Our industry is reeling from the impact of COVID-19. As our world works toward recovery, so do our members. Individuals and businesses need support. A strong exhibitions and events industry will play a key role in the recovery of our global economy. Watch this space for more details on recovery efforts and how we are amplifying our voice for the health of our industry.

  • Tell us your story so we can amplify our voices to decision makers around the world
  • Visit IAEE’s COVID-19 Resources page

Watch this space for more information and let us know your experience and contacts around these issues.

General Legislative Priorities Related to Public Health and Recovery

The exhibition, meetings, and events industry recognizes the need to protect public health, build confidence in the American people that when the time is right we will be ready with safety and sanitation measures and to establish a reopening of our industries economy.

1. Incentivize a safe restart of the exhibitions, meetings, and events economy: Create a temporary travel tax credit, allow businesses to fully deduct food and entertainment expenses, provide tax breaks for personal protective equipment (PPE) and sterilization of facilities, and enact tax measures to help revitalize U.S. trade shows and exhibitions.

  • Enact tax measures to help revitalize U.S. Trade Shows and Exhibitions.
  • Create a Temporary Travel Tax Credit.
  • Allow Full Deductibility of Food and Entertainment Business Expenses.
  • Provide tax breaks to businesses to offset the cost of enhancing employee and consumer safety, including sterilizing facilities, PPE, and reconfiguration of facilities.

See Legislative Priorities 1 for more details

2. Extend and enhance economic relief: Enable destination marketing organizations (DMOs) to receive Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, increase maximum loan amounts and flexibility, extend the covered period through 2020, and build on other critical provisions in the CARES Act.

  • Include Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) in the PPP.
  • Increase borrowing limits so businesses can withstand an extended period of lost revenues and operational disruption.
  • Extend covered period for loan forgiveness.
  • Modify eligibility of the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF).
  • Provide additional support for airports and aviation businesses

See Legislative Priorities 2 for more details

3. Support community-based economic recovery: Provide $10 billion in Economic Development Administration grants for DMOs and small businesses to promote healthy travel practices and encourage travel where it is safe.

See Legislative Priorities 3 for more details

4. Protect businesses that protect public health: Enact targeted and temporary safe harbor from liability for businesses that follow proper health and safety guidelines to protect against COVID-19.
See Legislative Priorities 4 & 5 for more details

5. Enable safe and healthy economic activity: Expand the federal role in the White House “Testing Blueprint” to strategically position COVID-19 tests to support travel, convention centers, and venue sites as well as significant funding for implementation.

See Legislative Priorities 4 & 5 for more details

Why this matters to you:

  • Every measure listed as our priorities serves a building block to a faster and safer recovery of the exhibitions, meetings, and events industry which will ensure a solid foundation to rebuilding the economy.
  • All of these events are mission critical to the organizations that use these vehicles to; buy and sell goods and services, educate and engage in collaborative efforts, and allow people to get to the business of business.
  • Without proper and timely implementation of our priorities will result in an expanded and prolonged economic recovery, resulting in millions of dollars and job losses.

Ready to send an email? Download email templates here

Local Chamber, Tourism, and 501 (c)(6) Protection Act of 2020

Congressional Bill Number:  H.R.6697. Official title: To amend the Small Business Act to expand the Paycheck Protection Program for certain organizations, and for other purposes.

Status as of May 2020: Introduced on May 5, 2020 by Reps. Pappas (D-NH), Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Cisneros (D-CA) and Steube (R-FL). Referred to the House Committee on Small Business.

More details on co-sponsors of H.R. 6697

Why this matters to you:

  • This bill modifies the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) implemented by the Small Business Administration in response to COVID-19 to include 501(c)(6) organizations. Many of these organizations will need this source of financial protection to withstand the loss of revenue due to cancelled or postponed exhibitions and events.
  • This bill includes PPP for destination marketing organizations (DMOs) engaged in promoting communities and facilities to businesses travelers, exhibitions, meetings, and events. Many DMOs rely on funding from local hotel taxes which have dried up during the stay-at-home orders.
  • DMOs provide critical economic development services for nearly every community across the U.S.

Our Call to Action: We urge House members to sign on (cosponsor) H.R. 6697 Local Chamber, Tourism, and 501 (c) (6) Protection Act of 2020, to provide Paycheck Protection Program funding to 501(c)(6) organizations or destination marketing organizations (DMOs). 

Overview: This bill modifies the Paycheck Protection Program implemented by the Small Business Administration in response to COVID-19. Specifically, the bill expands the program to encompass organizations with 300 or fewer employees that (1) operate under section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code, or (2) are a destination marketing organization (DMO) engaged in promoting communities and facilities to businesses travelers.

Our message: Both 501(c)(6) and destination marketing organizations (DMOs) play a critical role in a phased reopening of the economy, which will be increasingly more difficult if they do not have Paycheck Protection Program funding to sustain their operations. The lack of investment will cost the U.S. economy millions in revenue and jobs.

  • 501(c)(6) organizations are the backbone of industry best practices, training, and knowledge transfer most notably through the vehicles of exhibitions and events. Many of these organizations may not survive until it is safe to meet again. Many rely on revenue generated from these activities.
  • DMOs provide critical economic development services for nearly every community across the U.S. DMOs are the engines of the travel economy and their collapse will slow the economic recovery of the entire travel industry.

Additional resources:

Ready to send an email? Download email templates here

HEROES Act – Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act

Congressional Bill Number:  H.R.6800. Official title: Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act

Status as of May 2020: Introduced on May 12, 2020 by Reps. Lowery (D-NY-17) and 10 additional reps. (See list here.) House passage on May 15, 2020 by 208 Yeas to 199 Nays. See how they voted. The bill moves to the Senate for consideration.

Why this matters to you:

  • The bill expands the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) implemented by the Small Business Administration to all associations and nonprofits. Many of these organizations will need this source of financial protection to withstand the loss of revenue due to cancelled or postponed exhibitions and events.
  • The bill includes a provision for another round of stimulus checks, or economic impact payments. It would provide $1,200 to every family member, including children, up to $6,000 per household.
  • The bill would extend the extra $600 weekly federal unemployment benefit through January 2021. Gig workers, independent contractors, part-time workers and the self-employed will also be able to take advantage of unemployment benefits through March 2021.
  • The bill provides $500 billion in direct assistance to state governments to counter the fiscal impacts of the pandemic, $375 billion to assist local governments, $20 billion to tribal governments and $20 billion to U.S. territories.
  • The bill calls for an additional $75 billion for coronavirus testing, contact tracing and isolation measures. It also would ensure that all Americans could receive free coronavirus treatment.
  • The bill allocates $3.6 billion in grants to states for planning and preparation of elections, as well as to bolster election security.
  • The bill gives $25 billion in assistance to the Postal Service, which is expected to run out of money by late September without congressional assistance.

Praise for co-sponsors: Check to see if your legislators are among those that voted Yea on H.R. 6800. See how they voted. Better yet, reach out to thank them in writing (and let us know when you do)!

Our Call to Action: We urge Senators to vote yes on H.R. 6800, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, to provide Paycheck Protection Program funding to all associations and nonprofits.

Overview: The bill expands the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) implemented by the Small Business Administration to all associations and nonprofits. Many of these organizations will need this source of financial protection to withstand the loss of revenue due to cancelled or postponed exhibitions and events.

Our message: In these extraordinary financial times, it is critical for the federal government to use whatever fiscal means they have at their disposal to prop up the economy. The lack of investment will cost the U.S. economy millions in revenue and jobs and prolong the recovery.

  • 501(c) associations and non-profits demonstrate a positive impact to not only the economy but to society as well. They provide best practices, training, and knowledge transfer most notably through the vehicles of exhibitions, meetings, and events. Many of these organizations may not survive until it is safe to meet again. Many rely on revenue generated from these activities.
  • For Senators not willing to vote for H.R. 6800, we urge Congress to act swiftly to resolve differing priorities in the next round of COVID relief legislation and affirm the support associations and the American public need to weather this pandemic.

Additional resources:

Ready to send an email? Download email templates here

On Our Radar


Pandemic Risk Reinsurance Program – read more 

Stop Online Booking Scams Act – read more

Secure Travel Partnership Act of 2019 – read more

REAL ID – read more

America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019 – read more