On June 2, 2021, dozens of professionals from different segments of the exhibitions ecosystem gathered virtually to conduct meetings with congressional staff members to advocate in support of our industry’s post-Covid recovery. This action was critical because due to the pandemic last year, B2B exhibitions declined 78%…essentially 100% since mid-March through the end of the year. Now in summer 2021, activity is just starting to trickle back, and any semblance of normal is generally not expected until 2022.
We coalesced under the auspices of the newly-formed Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance, which is a unified voice of the face-to-face business events industry, aligning several associations, including EDPA and IAEE, of which Exhibit Concepts is a member, along with CEIR, ESCA, IAVM, SISO, UFI, and Destinations International.
Our focus was The Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act (H.R. 1346 and S. 477), which creates a three-year convention and trade show restart tax credit, applicable to shows occurring in 2022 through 2024. Attendees and exhibitors can receive a 50% tax credit against qualifying participation costs such as registration and lodging. Providers, such as venues and show organizers, can receive a 100% credit for costs incurred to prevent the spread of Covid-19, such as testing, cleaning, or renovation. These provisions should help encourage organizations and individual to “pull the trigger” on their decision to hold, exhibit in, or attend a tradeshow, which means that contracts will be initiated, leading to rehiring, and our businesses can begin to recover.
I had the privilege of being the team leader for the Ohio delegation. This year, that meant being the host for Zoom meetings, rather than the usual annual fly-in visits to Capitol Hill. (We are all excited for the in-person version to return in 2022!)
We engaged in productive virtual appointments with staff members from Senator Sherrod Brown’s and Senator Rob Portman’s offices as well as Congressman Bob Latta (OH-5) and Congressman Mike Turner (OH-10), sharing with them information about the Act, our industry’s situation, and our individual stories. I was delighted to learn that Congressman Turner, who represents the district where Exhibit Concepts is located, had already signed on as a co-sponsor of the bill.
Currently, The Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act has over 80 co-sponsors in the House and seven in the Senate, in both cases with nearly 50-50 bipartisan support. ECA’s goal is to greatly increase those numbers to help move the bill to the floor for a vote and (hopefully) passage.
The collective industries related to business events contribute nearly $400B to GDP and provides 6.6 million jobs nationwide. The Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act will help get this enormous machine that is our industry restarted and humming again. For more information, visit: https://www.exhibitionsconferencesalliance.org