Washington, D.C. – June 9, 2015 – Vincent Polito, Kimberly Hardcastle and Caitlin Fox of mdg visited lawmakers on Capitol Hill this month to address key issues that threaten the industry’s $71.3 billion contribution to the U.S. GDP. As participants of Exhibitions Day, an industry platform to engage in face-to-face dialogue with members of Congress, the mdg trio joined forces with clients, colleagues and friends with the goal of educating national leaders about the value and impact of exhibitions and events.

According to Hardcastle, “U.S.-based suppliers in several of the industries served by mdg clients are faced with ongoing domestic consolidation and view the ability to expand internationally as their best hope for significant growth. Many of these suppliers exhibit at trade shows, in large part, to meet foreign buyers and to make connections that will facilitate their expansion into international markets. We wanted to ensure that lawmakers were aware of the impact that international participation at trade shows has on domestic businesses and we wanted to encourage their support of legislation that facilitates travel.”

Key issues discussed include:

  • Garnering support for the Jobs Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act, a bipartisan effort to take specific steps, such as reforming the nation’s Visa Waiver Program (VWP), to increase international travel to the United States. Changes enacted through the JOLT Act are projected to help bring nearly 100 million visitors to the United States, create one million jobs and generate as much as $859 billion in revenue by 2020.
  • Addressing efforts by American, Delta and United airlines to nullify Open Skies agreements and freeze new routes for three international carriers. The legacy U.S. carriers allege that Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways have violated Open Skies agreements by accepting subsidies from their governments. The truth is virtually all global carriers, including those in the U.S., have accepted financial or regulatory subsidies from their governments. Open Skies agreements have positively impacted international aviation and travel, increased international air service, reduced air fare and encouraged millions of people to travel both nationally and internationally for leisure and business. Any action taken against the spirit of this policy would be detrimental to multiple facets of the U.S. economy, including the exhibitions and events industry.
  • Garnering support to re-establish the Travel Promotion Authority (TPA) to help ensure a rules-based system for two-way trade and that American workers and businesses—including America’s travel businesses—get the best deal out of new trade agreements. Expanded trade increases travel’s contribution to the economy by increasing travel to the United States, directly supporting American jobs, reducing the trade deficit and greatly contributing to U.S. exports, and ultimately benefiting the exhibitions and events industry.
  • Raising awareness about the importance of government employee participation at events, which is undeniably valuable to both attendees and exhibitors. Attendance at exhibitions and other face-to-face events is what fosters the development of effective regulation, contributes to innovation that drives economic growth, and provides unique learning and training opportunities for government employees. Additionally, exhibitions are the exact place where government agencies find the qualified contractors needed to help take on the numerous projects they need completed.