With US Congress nearing its return and state legislatures starting to gavel in nationwide, the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA) industry lobby group has released its 2024 public policy agenda in the United States. ECA’s alliance partners and board of directors have identified five key areas of focus for the year ahead:
- Ensuring a favourable industry operating environment
- Growing seamless international travel and commerce
- Creating a welcoming environment for the industry in states and cities nationwide
- Championing industry-led decarbonisation efforts
- Developing the industry’s future workforce
In 2024, ECA says it will be “laser-focused on advocating for policies to uphold the role of the business events industry in propelling economic growth, fostering job creation, and empowering small businesses nationwide and globally,” said Hervé Sedky, Emerald Holding Inc. president, CEO, and chair of the ECA board of directors.
As part of ECA’s 2024 public policy agenda, six issues were highlighted as top priorities for the coming year:
- Restoring visa operations to pre-pandemic levels while modernising visa processing
- Supporting government policies to help attract and train the industry’s next generation workforce
- Bringing back communicable disease coverage to event cancellation insurance
- Increasing music licensing transparency and stopping anti-competitive behaviour by rights holders
- Promoting industry-led sustainability and decarbonisation efforts that ensure the industry remains in control of its path to Net Zero
- Amplifying efforts to raise awareness of the business events industry to our future talent pool.
“From ensuring that all international exhibitors and attendees can return to exhibitions and conferences in the US, to supporting public sector involvement in developing the industry’s next generation workforce, ECA will be actively engaged in Washington, DC and beyond on the issues that matter for the industry in 2024,” said Vinnie Polito, Society of Independent Show Organisers CEO and ECA co-president.
This year, ECA will work to build upon many 2023 successes for the industry on Capitol Hill and in state houses and city halls nationwide including:
- Overturning Kentucky’s tax on exhibition and conference exhibitors and sponsors
- Repealing California’s state-funded travel ban
- Securing a longer transition period for the industry as part of California’s draft zero-emission forklift rule
- Amending Chicago’s new paid-leave law to exclude business events visitors
- Introducing and advancing legislation in Congress to expand skills-based training and development opportunities for our future workers
- Testifying in support of a proposed Federal Trade Commission rule to stop email list sale and hotel reservation scammers
- Supporting passage of House of Representatives appropriations legislation that would provide additional funding to help alleviate visa processing backlogs
- Reducing visa wait times at US embassies and consulates in India by 60% and Brazil by 77%
- Joining a coalition amici brief in an appeals court case to help keep music licensing rates reasonable.
“ECA has had a very successful 2023, but its work on behalf of our industry is just beginning,” said Marsha Flanagan, International Association of Exhibitions and Events president and CEO and ECA co-president. “In the weeks and months ahead, ECA will continue to amplify the advocacy voice of the business events industry including show organisers, exhibitors, suppliers, venues, and hard-working men and women that deliver powerful events every day from coast to coast.”
Throughout 2024, ECA will also be introducing new advocacy capabilities that will allow industry leaders and advocates to share their stories and make their voices heard in the political and policymaking processes.
“The business events industry has the best and most passionate advocates around, hands down!” said Tommy Goodwin, ECA vice-president. “In 2024, ECA is going ‘all in’ to give them the opportunity to make sure that elected officials hear them loud and clear, whether that’s in Washington, DC on ECA Legislative Action Day or on the show floor in their local communities year-round.”