Meetings, trade shows and conventions generate a huge amount of revenue for the economy – but no one knew just how much until now. PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Convention Industry Council reveal their findings…

MEETINGS and conventions have a vast effect on the US economy, according to a study released by the Convention Industry Council and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The study, entitled The Economic Significance of Meetings to the US Economy, revealed the exact number: the meetings industry directly supports 1.7 million jobs, a $106bn contribution to GDP, $263bn in spending, $60bn in labor revenue, $14.3bn in federal tax revenue and $11.3bn in state and local tax revenue.

‘As the nation grapples with effective ways to work its way out of a recession, the meetings industry plays a critical role in supporting jobs in communities across America, creating environments that foster innovation, consensus and business success,’ said Karen Kotowski, Executive Director of the Convention Industry Council. ‘Two years ago, the value of meetings, one of America’s top economic and social engines, was misunderstood by governments and the public. This new research quantifies the economic significance of our sector for legislators, regulators and economists alike.’

The report spanned a year of research by leading researchers from PwC US and around the industry. It’s the first study of its kind of this size and scope.

The 1.7 million jobs generated by the meetings industry is larger than many US industries, including broadcasting and communications (1.3 million), truck and rail transportation industries (1.5 million) and computer and electronic product manufacturing (1.1 million). The industry’s 1.7 million jobs generate $60bn in labor income and support another 4.6 million workers.

The $263bn in spending generated $14.3bn in federal tax revenue and $11.3bn in state and local tax revenue. And meetings’ $106bn contribution to the US GDP is greater than other industries such as performing arts/spectator sports/museums ($71bn) and information and data processing services ($76bn). ‘The results of our comprehensive research demonstrate the significance of the meetings industry as a major contributor to the US economy,’ said Robert Canton, director, convention & tourism practice, PwC US. ‘New and proven research standards, as well as definitions provided by the United Nations World Tourism Organization allowed for the measurement of .S. economic activity resulting from face-to-face meetings.’
A total of 205 million people, representing domestic and international delegates, exhibitors and organizers attend the 1.8 million meetings. The meetings serve as job training and education, a way to introduce business owners to suppliers who can help enhance their business, and form contacts that can benefit business for years to come. ‘Working side-by-side creates dynamic environments where handshakes convert to commerce, insight translates to innovation and knowledge sharing creates a better educated and more competitive workforce,’ Kotowski said.

Of the 1.8 million meetings, 1.3 million are classified as corporate or business meetings, 270,000 are conventions, conferences or congresses, 11,000 are trade shows and 66,000 are incentive meetings. The vast majority of meetings (85 per cent) were conducted at venues with lodging. Meetings generate 250 million overnight stays by 117 million Americans and 5 million international attendees.

Including direct, indirect and induced contributions, meetings activity provides $907bn in total economic output to the US economy. Total economic output also includes a $458bn value-added contribution to GDP, 6.3 million full-time and part-time jobs, $271bn in labor income including wages and salaries, benefits and proprietors’ income, $64 billion in federal tax revenue and $46bn in state and local tax revenue. ‘Meetings are how business gets done in virtually every state, city and town in America,’ said Kotowski. ‘They are the very ndefinition of working together and are essential to help win our future.’

More details of the study can be found at