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Several exhibition industry issues were brought forth to federal legislators from organization executives June 16-17 for the inaugural Exhibition Day held on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

The International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) developed the event in collaboration with industry groups such as the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), the Exhibit Designers + Producers Association (EDPA) the Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA), the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) and the U.S. Travel Association.

Nearly 100 leaders from these organizations gathered collectively to discuss topics such as bringing more international buyers to U.S. tradeshows, how to communicate the exhibition industry as a career option to young people, the importance of attendance by government employees and why lawmakers should support pro-travel legislation.

John Patronski, executive vice president of industry development, GES, said he and clients were given the opportunity to meet with two Senators and five Representatives from Illinois, asking for support of the Jobs Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act and Brand U.S.A.

The JOLT Act is an issue that would leverage the benefits of inbound, international travel to the U.S. to increase economic growth, create more jobs, generate additional tax revenue and boost U.S. Exports. Restrictions on travel and foreign participation are hurting exhibitions and events.

“Myself and GES are strong believers in supporting our industry and working with Congress to educate and remind them of the value of exhibitions and the revenue, jobs, taxes and commerce they deliver to our country, states and cities,” Patronski said.

The two-day event was the beginning of an effort many hope will become a regular platform of support for the relationship between the exhibitions industry and the federal government.

Despite past controversy in which federal agencies are now reluctant to send their employees to events, government employee participation is undeniably valuable to both attendees and exhibitors, as it fosters the development of effective regulation, contributes to innovation that drives economic growth and provides unique learning and training opportunities.

“I will continue to give if the opportunity rises again,” Patronski said.

Announced in April, Exhibitions Day was part of IAEE’s Exhibitions Mean Business campaign, an effort established in 2011 to promote long-term benefits of connections to business growth and development.

“Exhibitions and events industry professionals recognize the potential threat to our industry and the economy if restrictions to these programs continue, which is why it is critical for us to engage directly with lawmakers on Exhibitions Day 2014,” David DuBois, president and CEO, IAEE.



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