Events Council Blog

Discovering the Economic Significance of the Events and Meetings Industry

Feb 22, 2018

The Events Industry Council is excited to announce that the Economic Significance Survey is officially available to members and events industry professionals. The study, which looks at the economic impact of face-to-face meetings and business events, was done in partnership with Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company. The Events Industry Council spearheads this study every four years and our most recent research revealed that the industry accounts for hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue to the U.S. economy and supports 5.9 million jobs – an increase since the last study from 2012. As such, it is important for all event professionals to understand and appreciate the economic value our industry holds. 

Results and Key Findings

Economic significance was defined by the combined total of direct, indirect and induced impacts. We discovered that in 2016 meetings supported a total economic impact of:

  • $845 billion of output (business sales)
  • 5.9 million jobs with $249 billion of labor income
  • $446 billion of GDP (representing contribution to U.S. gross domestic product)
  • $104 billion of federal, state and local taxes

Overall, the meetings sector supported more direct jobs than many large manufacturing sectors, including machinery, food, auto and chemicals. It sustained more jobs than the telecommunications and oil and gas extraction industries as well. On average in 2016, the direct meetings spending associated with 43 meeting participants supported one U.S. job, including both direct and indirect impacts, and each meeting participant supported $416 of tax revenue. This includes $215 of federal tax revenue and $165 of state and local tax revenue, and the total tax impact per household was $879 per U.S. household. This tax offset represents the federal, state and local taxes that would otherwise need to be paid per U.S. household to compensate for the absence of meeting sector activity.

Between 2009 and 2016, direct spending on meetings grew by 23 percent, primarily due to an expanding number of meeting participants. In total, 1.9 million meetings were held in 2016, with 251 million participants, and 6 million international meeting participants generated $38 billion of meetings direct spending, meaning that they contributed 11 percent of spending despite representing only 2 percent of participants. In 2016 alone, these meetings generated 300 million room nights.

The business services industry was the most impacted, with $196.3 billion in business sales, including ones that occurred because of the meetings industry, including goods and services purchased from other parts of the economy.

Conducting the Economic Significance Study

The research for this study was generated using a number of different methods. Oxford Economics conducted primary research via a nationwide survey of meeting planners, exhibitors and venues. Tourism Economics, as part of secondary research, gathered data representing almost 9,000 domestic business travelers, 50,000 international air travelers and 11,000 hotel professionals using the following sources:

  • Longwoods International
  • The National Travel and Tourism Office
  • STR, Inc.
  • Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR)

Surveying key events, hospitality and venue stakeholders allowed us to gain a holistic viewpoint on the impact of the events industry. 

Analyzing the Impact

In the coming weeks, the Events Industry Council will publish a series of Q&As with CMPs who share their thoughts on the economic impact of their events. 

In the meantime, to find out more about the economic impact of the events and meetings industry, access the full report today.