EIBTM unites organisations to promote sector globally

EIBTM has joined forces with the World Tourism Organization (WTO), ICCA and MPI to collate definitive figures on the meetings industry to raise its profile and quantify its value among governments. The development dates back to the last EIBTM event held in Geneva in May 2003, when associations called for worldwide statistics to impress governments by indicating the economic impact and effect on employment levels of meetings. Reed Travel Exhibitions (EIBTM) chairman Tom Nutley said: "This industry has to use lobbying to get the governments to invest in certain products. You can only do that with significant statistics otherwise you cannot convince them of the value of the industry." The WTO currently compiles data from 150 countries and WTO chief executive officer for the Affiliate Antonio de la Morena asked WTO member states to focus on the meetings industry. "The overall message to governments is that the meetings industry is very much present. We pay taxes and we boost the economy so they need to take us into account," he said. "Business tourism is the fastest growing sector, the best performer and also the best employer in the tourism industry, with a much higher spend per capita than the other sectors." WTO member states have submitted their current meetings statistics for phase one of the project. The second stage commenced in December 2004 with the commissioning of a research document. The final report will be presented at EIBTM 2005. "I hope we have a framework next November that has been thoroughly researched and provides a blueprint for the meetings industry," said Nutley. "We want to truly segment between leisure and business and if we can achieve that, we will have taken a giant step forward."

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