McLean, Virginia | The Convention Industry Council (CIC) released today its 2004 Economic Impact Study, which provides the most current findings of the economic impact of the meetings, conventions, exhibitions, and incentive travel industry in the United States. The study provides a macroeconomic analysis of the industry’s direct spending and employment growth.

“CIC is pleased to present this study on the economic impact of the meetings, conventions, exhibitions, and incentive travel industry,” said Mary E. Power, CAE, president and CEO of the Convention Industry Council. “Conducted by VERIS Consulting, LLC of Reston, Virginia, this report estimates the economic impact of this industry to the national economy. With this study, CIC hopes to increase public awareness of the industry as a vital economic engine.”

Summary of Findings

The meetings, conventions, exhibitions, and incentive travel industry is a 365-day-a-year business that operates in communities, large and small, across the country. Taken as a whole, it generated $122.31billion in total direct spending in 2004, making it the 29th largest contributor to the gross national product. That is more than the “pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing” industry and only slightly less than the “nursing and residential care facilities” industry.

The industry’s spending and tax revenue ripple through every sector of the local economy, from restaurants and transportation to retail stores and other services, while supporting 1.7 million jobs in the United States. It generates more than 36% of the hotel industry’s estimated $109.3 billion in operating revenue, and its attendees account for nearly 17% of the air transportation industry’s operating income.

Facts & Figures

The industry’s total direct spending is $122.31 billion. Direct Employment Impact, the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs supported by the direct spending of the industry, is 1,710,000 jobs. Direct Tax Impact rose to $21.40 billion.

Association-sponsored events accounted for two thirds, or $81.94 billion, of the direct spending industry total. Corporate-sponsored events (including incentive travel) accounted for the remaining one third, or $40.37 billion.

The credible, well-researched facts and figures presented in the Convention Industry Council’s 2004 Economic Impact Study will be useful to industry professionals as well as communities at large when planning, budgeting, and advocating for issues related to meetings, conventions, exhibitions, and incentive travel. The Study also:

  • Provides compelling statistics to assist in attracting public funding from both local governments and private investors;
  • Illustrates benefits of the industry in terms of jobs created, business sales, and tax revenues; and,
  • Provides a baseline report that can be used to estimate long-term impact.

Due to the broad nature of the industry, data from a number of reputable sources, each specializing in a particular aspect of the industry, was researched, aggregated, and analyzed. CIC and VERIS Consulting wish to thank the following organizations for contributing their research and data to this project:

  • Air Transport Association of America (ATA)
  • American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA)
  • Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR)
  • The Incentive Federation
  • International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus (IACVB)
  • Meetings & Conventions Magazine
  • SITE Foundation
  • Travel Industry Association of America (TIA)
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

The Convention Industry Council’s 30 member organizations represent more than 100,000 individuals as well as 15,000 firms and properties involved in the meetings, conventions, and exhibitions industry. Formed in 1949 to provide a forum for member organizations seeking to enhance the industry, CIC facilitates the exchange of information and develops programs to promote professionalism within the industry and educates the public on its profound economic impact. In addition to the Economic Impact Study, CIC is responsible for the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) Program, APEX (Accepted Practices Exchange), and the Hall of Leaders.

The largest share of the convention and exhibition dollar (35 percent) is spent in hotels and other facilities. The rest is widely distributed throughout local economies. After air transportation (24 percent), the biggest categories of attendee, exhibitor, and sponsor spending were: restaurant and outside catering food & beverage outlets (14 percent) and business services (12 percent).

Mary E. Power, CAE
President & CEO
Convention Industry Council (CIC)