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Global Meetings Industry Day Coming March 30

Annual event highlights importance of business gatherings

By Kathy Gibbons

CREDIT U.S. Travel

Meetings, conferences, events, and trade shows are a big piece of the travel pie, according to U.S. Travel. The organization says that collectively, they represented 42% of all business travel spending and 11% of all travel spending in the U.S. prior to the pandemic. The nearly $130 million in meeting and event-related travel spending in the U.S. had been directly connected to 800,000 American jobs, $42 billion in employee payroll, and $19 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenue. For the global meetings industry, it’s even more.

The pandemic came along and threw a big wet blanket over all of that and the industry is years away from regaining the ground lost during the height of COVID-19. That’s what makes Global Meetings Industry Day, set for March 30, all the more significant this year. Originally launched as Canadian National Meetings Industry Day, it expanded to North America in 2015 through the efforts of Meetings Mean Business. 2016 marked the first global edition, and the day is currently an initiative of Meetings Mean Business under U.S. Travel. At the same time, many industry associations, chapters, and organizations host events as part of the celebration including Meeting Professionals International, which has hosted the annual 12-hour broadcast since 2018.

CREDIT U.S. Travel

Greg Staley, senior vice president, communications, for U.S. Travel reports that beyond the clear economic value to the U.S. economy, meetings also provide a variety of other benefits critical to fueling new ideas, sustaining business and financial growth, and professional development. Staley cites a Forbes Insights’ study that indicates face-to-face requests are 34 times more effective than emailed versions. The study also found that 77% of executives consider business travel essential and 43% of business travelers say reduced business travel negatively affects their company’s financial performance.

Global Meetings Industry Day features a live broadcast that runs from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central Time. Kay Gunn, manager of MPI Academy Operations, says this year’s theme is #MeetingsMatter with a leadership panel including top industry executives from across the country.

“We also have a call-to-action type messaging interwoven in some segments advocating for the industry as a career path and educating youth and young adults on the wide range of career opportunities in meetings and events,” Gunn says.

While the broadcast is free, participants are asked to donate $10 U.S. to the MPI Foundation to support grants, scholarships, and research. Kevin G. Kirby, executive director of the MPi Foundation, says GMID has generated more than $50,000 over the past five years, with the funds going to support efforts that directly affect the industry, MPI chapters, and members.

“Last year, our rallying cry was around supporting Ukrainian hospitality students in Poland,” Kirby says. “The funds subsidized 32 students, allowing them to finish their studies and enter our industry while they were facing an ongoing crisis to support their families at home.” This year, a fundraising partner will provide $10,000 in matching funds, with proceeds going to raise awareness of anti-human trafficking efforts.

CREDIT U.S. Travel

“MPI Global and their MPI Anti-Human Trafficking Committee are committed to raising awareness within the MPI chapters and their communities by creating an education-in-a-box that can be implemented with each chapter worldwide,” Kirby says. “These educational components focus on identifying victims and if a victim is identified, what should be done.”

To register for Global Meetings Industry Day, click here.