The return of corporate travel, professional meetings, conventions and events is expected to take four years or more to recover. Business travel spending is down 69% and spending related to meetings, conferences and events declined even further—down 76%. Until business travel, meetings and events are fully restored, the pace of economic recovery will continue to suffer.

Professional meetings and events (PMEs) are different than most types of gatherings, providing a controlled setting for the secure implementation of health and safety measures designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In fact, according to scientific modeling by the Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance and Epistemix, in-person PMEs pose a near-zero (0.001%) risk of COVID-19 transmission to attendees—even for large events.

Further, all business travel including to meetings, conventions and events, enable the restoration of highly valuable in-person connections. These face-to-face meetings are essential to building relationships, converting and retaining customers, networking and learning about the latest products, technologies and competitive offerings—opportunities that are simply irreplaceable in a virtual setting.

A Broad Reopening, but Stalled Economic Recovery

Across the U.S., states have largely lifted gathering restrictions and limitations, with most of the U.S. now open. Though this is good news for the restart of all sectors of the travel economy, the patchwork approach, based on outdated guidance does not protect the meetings and events industry in the future. The CDC should update the definition of "large gatherings" to provide a clear distinction between professional meetings and events (PMEs) and other large, informal gatherings. Should our progress on defeating the pandemic be interrupted, this updated guidance will ensure this vital sector and economic contributor does not suffer the same significant losses.

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U.S. Map of Restrictions

Safe Meetings are Returning Across the U.S.

In states where gathering limits have been lifted, successful and safe meetings and events are already taking place. These meetings, occurring in controlled environments and executed by professional meeting planners, have layers of health practices in place to ensure the overall health of safety of attendees and guests. Not only that, these meetings drive significant economic recovery to these local communities.

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World of Concrete

World of Concrete
Las Vegas Convention Center

60,000 attendees

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Jewelers International Showcase

Jewelers International Showcase
Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami Beach, FL

3,000 buyers and 170 exhibitors

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Mecum Auto Auction

Mecum Auto Auction
Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas

2,500 in-person attendees

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Together Again Expo

Together Again Expo
Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) in Orlando

1,405 in-person; 8,225 virtual attendees

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The Florida Transportation Builders Association

The Florida Transportation Builders’ Association (FTBA) Annual Construction Conference
Orange County Convention Center

1,200 attendees

Learn more about The Florida Transportation Builders’ Association (FTBA) Annual Construction Conference
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Connect 2020 Marketplace

Connect 2020 Marketplace
Orlando World Center Marriott

1000 in-person; 175 virtual attendees

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Mecum Auctions 2020

Mecum Auctions 2020
Las Vegas

800 in-person attendees

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21st Annual Meetings Industry Council

21st Annual Meetings Industry Council (MIC) of Colorado Educational Conference and Trade
Denver, Colorado

500 attendees

Learn more about 21st Annual Meetings Industry Council (MIC) of Colorado Educational Conference and Trade
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WEC Grapevine

WEC Grapevine
Grapevine, TX

600+ in person; 1,100+ virtual attendees

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American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons

American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS) Annual Meeting
Dallas, Texas

497 in-person; 974 virtual attendees

Learn more about American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS) Annual Meeting