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Measuring the economic impact of the meetings industry

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One of the biggest long-term challenges facing our industry has been the lack of consistent methodologies for measuring economic impact and for comparing the scale of the sector between countries and over time. A complex industry structure of organisers, venues and other suppliers, lack of clarity on definitions, and poor reporting systems have all conspired to keep the world in the dark about the true value of our industry.

It was to rectify this situation that in 2006 ICCA collaborated with the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and Reed Travel Exhibitions, organisers of IBTM World, to publish the first global standards for carrying out national economic impact studies, "Measuring the economic importance of the meetings industry – Developing a tourism satellite account extension", linked to the UNWTO's universally recognised Tourism Satellite Accounting methodology. 

The creation of these standards had an immediate effect, inspiring industry leaders in a number of countries to set up their first ever comprehensive studies, the results of which confirmed what had been long suspected, that the meetings industry was a major contributor towards those countries' economic prosperity.  One fascinating result from all of the studies demonstrated that whilst meetings made up a significant percentage of the overall tourism figures, this was only part of the story: typically, over 50 percent of the direct expenditure by organisers and delegates was on non-tourism-related services and products.

To encourage other countries to adopt these principles and to set up their own studies, we are bringing together all the national study results that have been undertaken up to this time.  As new study results are published, these will be added to this site, as will advice publications and other related resources.  For further information and advice on carrying out economic impact studies or on organising advocacy programmes based on study results, please visit the Joint Meetings Industry website:

The following economic impact studies were executed in the past years:

2015: Investigating International Business Events Delegate Spending Patterns in Malaysia 
2015: Economic impact of MICE in Thailand
2015: The value of business events to Australia
2014: Australia’s international business events sector: the economic and strategic value proposition
2014; Business Events: Delivering Economic Prosperity for Australia.
2014: Canadian Economic Impact Study 3.0
2013: Study on the Economic Impact of MICE in Singapore 
2013: The economic impact of the UK meeting & event industry
2013: Principles for measuring economic impact (JMIC)
2012: The economic contribution of meeting activity in Denmark
2011: The economic significance of meetings in Mexico
2011: The economic significance of meetings to the U.S. economy
2007-2008: Canadian economic impact study (CEIS) update
2006: The economic contribution of meetings activity in Canada

2006: Measuring the economic importance of the meetings industry – Developing a tourism satellite account extension

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
U.S. reporting requirements for medical and pharmaceutical meetings spend are revealing their economic impact.

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