Money. They say it can’t buy you happiness. Fair enough, but it’s still nice to have, isn’t it? And for international organizations that want to empower their members and advance the interests of the professions they represent, a certain amount of it is absolutely essential.
One way of getting money to flow into your organization’s coffers, your city and your country is through hosting international conferences and events. We’ve talked about this before. But now some proof, some hard numbers to prod you towards making that commitment to be the host(ess) with the most(ess).
The Meeting Professionals International Foundation Canada (MPIFC) commissioned Maritz Research Canada, the Conference Board of Canada, Greenfield Services Inc. and the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council to gather data on the economic impact of conferences and meetings.
Some startling numbers, relating to Canada in the year 2012 (note that the currency values referenced below reflect the Canadian dollar):
- Canada hosted more than 585,000 business events in 2,176 venues
- These events attracted 35.3 million participants and involved $29.1 billion in direct spending across a broad range of participants and non-participants
- Participants at business events spent $20.8 billion on either getting to events and/or spending in and around host cities.
- Attendees included 30.7 million delegates, more than 2 million exhibitors, and 2.6 million professional speakers or other attendees
The researchers went on to point out that “business events were shown to directly support over 200,000 full-year jobs with a further 142,000 full-year jobs supported through indirect and induced supply chain linkages and household re-spending. These results point to a sector of the economy that can support one full-year job for every $85,000 in direct spending.”
In total, business events supported $55 billion in economic activity for Canadian businesses during 2012.
In the US, as you might expect, the numbers were even larger. The Convention Industry Council’s figures for 2012, again in association with the Meeting Professionals International Foundation and other organizations, found that 1.83 million corporate and business meetings, trade shows, conventions, congresses, incentive events and other meetings took place in the US. This resulted in:
- $280 billion in direct spending
- 78 million US jobs
- $115 billion contribution to GDP
- $66.8 billion in US labour income
Researchers also found that:
- 225 million attendees participate in the nation’s 1.87 million conventions, conferences, congresses, trade shows and exhibitions, incentive events and corporate/business meetings
- Of the 1.87 million meetings, 1.3 million are classified as corporate or business meetings
- 85 per cent of meetings are conducted at venues with lodging, generating more than 275 million room nights
Bear in mind that these two examples won’t be directly comparable (separate datasets, methodologies etc.), but the bottom line is that this is big business.
I’ve focused on the US and Canada above, but what about your country? Do you have some information to share about the positive impacts of professional meetings where you are? If so, we’d love to hear from you. You can join the conversation by leaving a comment here or contacting us on Facebook or Twitter.