Meetings Mean Business 2018 Recap



2018 Recap Yes, 2018 was a very busy year for the Meetings Mean Business Canada (MMBC) coalition board and advisory council. Throughout the year we traveled across Canada to share our goals and ask for a commitment to support the importance of Meetings & Business Events. I would like to use this recap to re-state our goals, deliverables to date and advocacy efforts. The Curation of Data The recently launched Global Economic Impact Study validated the importance of Business Events worldwide. The study sites that business events in 2017 generated more than $1 Trillion of direct spending, over 10 million in direct jobs and globally generated $621 Billion of direct GDP. The study also confirmed some economic drivers for Canada. We ranked 6th out of the top 50 countries with $33 Billion in direct spend, 229,000 direct jobs and $19.3 billion of direct GDP. During the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) conference this past November, we heard that the Tourism industry in Canada is a $95B industry. We were also told that business travelers are worth four times (4x) a leisure traveler from an economic impact perspective. So, that means:

  1. Business Events account for 34.7% of all tourism in Canada WITHOUT knock-on leisure tourism.

  2. Business Events’ contribution to Canada’s GDP of 19.3B is a solid 54.5% of the entire GDP of the Tourism industry.

  3. If we included the leisure travel that gets booked around Business Events, our sector would be about 50% of the entire Tourism industry in Canada.

We encourage you to share this economic impact story with your teams, industry colleagues, local and provincial governments. We intend to do the same as we share this positive news in our travels across Canada, during our presentations at industry events and through our 2019 advocacy initiatives with TIAC. Telling our Story The board and advisory council recently approved the Communications Strategy that will be executed in 2019 to effectively tell our story and clearly illustrate the power of meetings on both an economic and personal level. In order to achieve this, we will be creating a video series that highlights three different levels of stakeholders. Video conversations will be conducted with individuals from the following categories:

  • Corporate CEOs – illustrating how meetings positively affect their businesses.

  • The Canadian worker – individuals not directly tied to our industry, but benefit by meetings and large conferences (i.e. taxi drivers, restaurant workers, housekeepers, local shop owners etc.).

  • Meetings Industry Leaders – discussing the powerful economics, statistics, etc.

Thank you to our coalition supporters for your input in providing names for these interviews. Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) – April 4, 2019 Plans are well underway to implement a GMID strategy that provides consistent and aligned messaging for the organizers of these events in all Canadian cities. There will be a GMID “button” on the home page of the website. This section on the site will include a toolkit and specific messaging for GMID in Canada. A notice launching the site will be sent to our coalition supporters early in the New Year. Succession Plan with National Representation During the 2018 nomination process, the current Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Past Chair have agreed to continue their term into 2019. I am also very pleased to report that we have made some great progress in growing our National Board and Advisory Council with key Influencers in the Canadian meetings and business events industry. All of us are committed to ensuring our industry prospers for many years to come. A Sustainable Business Model Meeting Mean Business Canada is at an exciting stage in its development. With cross-Canada representation from key industry leaders and decision-makers, as well as a strong balance sheet and an increasingly productive relationship with TIAC, we are poised to transform our nascent coalition from a volunteer-led effort to a professionally managed advocacy platform. With this in mind, we held a strategic planning session this past November 26th in Ottawa, prior to the TIAC Congress, to discuss how to best execute on our advocacy mission over the next 3-5 years. I should also mention that we currently have about 150 coalition supporters. Many of these supporters are small businesses that are as impacted by any threats to our industry as the larger organizations. That said, another component of sustainability is to design a business model that is affordable and protects both the large and small meetings and business events community. Advocacy The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) lobbies the federal government on behalf of the tourism industry and their efforts include advocacy for increased funding for Destination Canada (DC) to achieve its marketing objectives. Meetings Mean Business Canada (MMBC) supports increased funding for Destination Canada overall including Business Events Canada (BEC). As mentioned, TIAC is advocating on behalf of MMBC. Recent successes include a meeting with the Minister of Tourism, a luncheon meeting with the Governor General of the Bank of Canada and most recently a meeting with the Parliamentary Finance Committee, in which TIAC President & CEO Charlotte Bell communicated, and I quote, “Canada's travel economy includes millions of travelers who visit each year for business meetings, study, and leisure. The meetings and conventions sector alone represents over $30 billion in economic activity.” These advocacy efforts are just the beginning with much more to come. I hope you agree that 2018 has been a very productive year for this coalition, and we look forward to another great year ahead. Please do not hesitate to reach out to any of the board members or advisory council with your suggestions, comments, and interest in supporting Meetings Mean Business Canada. In closing, on behalf of the board of directors and advisory council, I wish you a very Happy Holiday Season and a peaceful and prosperous New Year! Thank you for your support. Kindest Regards,


Heidi Welker 2018 Chair – Meetings Mean Business Canada


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