An important step toward better meeting industry cooperation took place at 2014 IMEX’s Politician’s Forum in Frankfurt, Germany.
As representatives of the meetings industry, Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC), which is dedicated to building awareness of the meetings industry, and two global travel and tourism organizations – World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) – released a joint statement.
The statement recognizes key incremental values associated with the meetings industry and identifies three areas as focal points for future collaboration: communications and advocacy, research, and sustainable development. Specific strategies for addressing these priorities will be identified in the coming months with a view to developing an ongoing interface in areas that will better support the interrelated objectives of all three organizations.
“We believe this is an important achievement for the meetings industry as it opens the door for more effective communications and interactions between our three organizations in areas where we have a common interest and a stake in future industry growth and stability,” said Philippe Fournier, president, JMIC. “At the same time, it will enable us all to speak more consistently and with greater credibility to our respective audiences and constituencies, many of which we share.”
The agreement was the product of a series of discussions over a number of months in which areas of common interest were identified by representatives of the signatory organizations. Of particular concern was the importance of recognizing and incorporating the incremental values associated with the meetings industry relative to the role it plays in facilitating global business, professional and academic outcomes and more effectively incorporating these values in the ongoing conversation with governments and the business community. In addition, there was an opportunity recognized in that these benefits could be more effectively documented and presented if supported by a better integrated research effort.
“The meetings industry is a central part of the tourism sector. Among the over one billion international tourists that travel the world every year, an estimated 140 million (14 percent) does so for business and professional reasons. Yet, more important than these numbers is the impact the meetings industry has on the ground – the enormous economic contribution it represents for destinations around the world, the fact that the meetings industry is today a fundamental source of knowledge sharing and that it contributes decisively to progress trade, investment, innovation and science,” said Taleb Rifai, secretary-general, UNWTO.
“Travel & Tourism is one of the world’s largest economic sectors, accounting for 9 percent of GDP, one in 11 jobs worldwide and 30 percent of the world’s service sector exports. The meetings industry is a major contributor to travel and tourism revenues and economic and social advancement. Conferences, meetings, conventions and exhibitions bring together individuals and organizations to pursue business, professional, academic and social goals. We look forward to working together with the JMIC and UNWTO to support and advance the role played by the meetings industry in the growth of travel and tourism and that of economies and societies,” said David Scowsill, president and CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council
The preliminary discussions as well as the collaboration meeting in which the statement was finalized were facilitated by IMEX Frankfurt, in which the three organizations also participated as featured speakers.
To download the joint statement, visit here.