The Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA), a Washington, D.C, organization that advocates for the face-to-face business events industry, has released its 2024 public policy agenda. ECA’s alliance partners and board of directors have identified five key areas of focus for the year ahead:
- Ensuring a favorable industry operating environment
- Growing seamless international travel and commerce
- Creating a welcoming environment for the industry in states and cities nationwide
- Championing industry-led decarbonization efforts
- Developing the industry’s future workforce
“In 2024, ECA will focus on advocating for policies to uphold the role of the business events industry in propelling economic growth, fostering job creation, and empowering small businesses nationwide and globally,” says Hervé Sedky of Emerald Holding Inc., president, CEO, and chair of the ECA board of directors.
As part of the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance’s 2024 public policy agenda, six issues were highlighted as top priorities for the coming year:
- Restoring visa operations to pre-pandemic levels while modernizing visa processing
- Supporting government policies to help attract and train the industry’s next-generation workforce
- Bringing back communicable disease coverage to event-cancellation insurance
- Promoting industry-led sustainability and decarbonization efforts that ensure the industry remains in control of its path to Net Zero
- Amplifying efforts to raise awareness of the business events industry to our future talent pool
“From ensuring that all international exhibitors and attendees can return to exhibitions and conferences in the U.S. to supporting public sector involvement in developing the industry’s next-generation workforce, ECA will be actively engaged in Washington, D.C., and beyond on the issues that matter for the industry in 2024,” says Vinnie Polito, Society of Independent Show Organizers CEO and Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance co-president.
This year, the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance will work to build upon many 2023 successes for the industry on Capitol Hill, in state houses, and in city halls nationwide including:
- Overturning Kentucky’s tax on exhibition and conference exhibitors and sponsors
- Repealing California’s state-funded travel ban
- Securing a longer transition period for the industry as part of California’s draft zero-emission forklift rule
- Amending Chicago’s new paid-leave law to exclude business events visitors
- Introducing and advancing legislation in Congress to expand skills-based training and development opportunities for the industry’s future workers
- Testifying in support of a proposed Federal Trade Commission rule to stop email list sale and hotel-reservation scammers
- Supporting passage of a House of Representatives appropriations legislation that would provide additional funding to help alleviate visa-processing backlogs
- Reducing visa wait times at U.S. embassies and consulates in India by 60% and Brazil by 77%
“ECA has had a very successful 2023, but its work on behalf of our industry is just beginning,” says Marsha Flanagan, president and CEO of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events and ECA co-president. “In the weeks and months ahead, ECA will continue to amplify the advocacy voice of the business events industry including show organizers, exhibitors, suppliers, venues, and hard-working men and women who deliver powerful events every day from coast to coast.”
Throughout 2024, the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance will also be introducing new advocacy capabilities that will allow industry leaders and advocates to share their stories and make their voices heard in the political and policymaking processes.
“The business events industry has the best and most passionate advocates around, hands down,” says Tommy Goodwin, ECA vice president. “In 2024, ECA is going ‘all in’ to give them the opportunity to make sure that elected officials hear them loud and clear, whether that’s in Washington, D.C., on ECA Legislative Action Day or on the show floor in their local communities year-round.”
The Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance’s 2024 public policy agenda can be viewed here.