US meetings industry fights back against critics
The $175 billion U.S. corporate meetings industry is fighting back against a torrent of negative publicity and cancellations that has cost it billions of dollars, industry leaders said on Sunday. The U.S. Travel Association has launched a campaign to reverse setbacks to the industry caused in part by a perception that expensive meetings are decadent given the worst U.S. recession in decades. The campaign will focus on explaining the impact on employment in the hotel and leisure sector of decline in the industry and resisting any attempt by government to regulate where and when companies can hold meetings. Criticism by government officials and journalists of lavish meetings for top executives at top-dollar destinations has triggered a drastic overall reduction in demand for meetings.