Meetings and travel vital to economy


LAS VEGAS, NV – Face-to-face meetings have the highest return on investment (ROI) among all sales and marketing tools used in business, and the meeting and convention industry injects an estimated US$200 billion into the national economy annually. These ROI results are part of the FutureWatch Study by Meeting Professionals International (MPI) scheduled for release next week.

“You cannot discount the value of face-to-face business interactions and the impact that meetings have on the overall economy in our country,” said Bruce MacMillan, CA, president and CEO of MPI. “Every great accomplishment in business started with some sort of meeting.”

Las Vegas hosts approximately 22,000 meetings, conventions, and trade shows annually, attracting 6 million visitors who account for an economic impact of US$8.5 billion. The meeting industry directly employs more than 46,000 Southern Nevada workers, a figure that increases to more than 75,000 when indirect impacts are combined.

“The meeting industry is one of the most vital parts of travel and tourism in Las Vegas, and the destination has committed innumerable resources to ensuring the success of these events,” said Rossi Ralenkotter, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “The perception that Las Vegas is merely a gaming and leisure destination is antiquated and uneducated. The meeting facilities in Las Vegas are among the best in the world, and the resorts represent major international companies, many of whom are publicly traded on Wall Street.”

There has been a lot of recent media attention on the meetings and business industry because of events planned by some financial corporations that have received federal aid. However, it is unfair to punish an entire industry that generates billions of dollars in economic stimulus and jobs for the American public.

“We are extremely concerned about the unintended consequences of restricting corporate meetings, events, and incentive travel programs. Business-related travel creates 2.4 million jobs, US$244 billion in spending and US$39 billion in tax revenue at the federal, state, and local level,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the US Travel Association.

Travel and tourism, including meeting and business travelers, are a vital part of the national economy and will be a key element in stimulating its growth.