With the climate as bad as it is in the meetings industry, it’s comforting to know that there are advocates in the field fighting for respect in front of the right audiences. I was recently turned on to the website www.votetravel.org which the US Travel Association uses to “tout the enormous contributions that the travel industry delivers to the country”. According to their mission, the Vote Travel campaign intends to communicate in a proactive way to this nation’s lawmakers the “significant impact of travel”. It’s a message that’s imperative to be touting at all times, not just when the industry finds itself on the defensive. And in addition to a nationwide bus tour the campaign also aims to get intense media coverage, get in front of chief lawmakers, and hold rallies.
Another valuable piece to this website is directing the lay person on how they can take action themselves. There are easy to use direct links to contact candidates, federal policy makers, and state and local elected officials, with already written form letters hammering the message home that travel is important.
This is clearly having some impact.
According to the public policy director at the American Society of Association Executives, the association community has made “considerable progress in letting Congress know about our serious concerns. Specifically, [they] have educated many members of Congress on the unintended consequences contained in [the] proposals” put forth in recent days that would serve to squash the industry. The reception has been positive and the dialogue welcomed. The bills have become far less onerous than those originally put forth though none have passed at the moment.
It’s an endless battle but at least the battle is now the center of attention industry wide. Whether you’re involved in corporate meetings, government meetings, or association meetings – the notion that meetings are “bad” is pervasive and must be quelled at any cost.