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by Kaylee Hultgren | February 01, 2010
The Convention Industry Council is rolling out several initiatives to support the industry as well as its planner members.

Most importantly, an alliance of CIC members -- the American Society of Asso­ciation Executives, Destina­tion Marketing Association International, Meeting Pro­fessionals International, the Professional Convention Management Association, the U.S. Travel Association, the International Special Events Society, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, Site and the Association of Destination Management Executives -- are funding a study on the economic impact of the meetings and events industry, to be conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The project aims to provide quantitative data showing the contribution of meetings, exhibitions and events to the U.S. economy as a whole and to the travel and tourism sectors. The study, to be released in October, will survey several groups, including association and corporate meeting planners, attendees, exhibitors, venue managers and destination management organizations.

Last month, CIC launched the "Face Time. It Matters" campaign, a grassroots effort to support the industry by offering marketing tools for trade publications, member websites, advertisers and event producers. The initiative is a response to a recent national survey of planners that cited image, publicity and public policy concerns as reasons for booking fewer events this year.

"We are responding to one of the most challenging years that I can remember," said Deborah Sexton, president and CEO of PCMA. "We recognized a need to do something about the messaging, since the industry was being misunderstood."

CIC also has streamlined the requirements for the Certified Meeting Profes­sional designation, with a fresh emphasis on work experience and education. Among the changes, candidates with a degree in meeting, event, exhibition, or hospitality and tourism management will be allowed to apply if they have just two, instead of three, years of experience.

In addition, the CMP's point system qualification will be eliminated; new guidelines call for candidates to have accumulated 25 hours of continuing education or an approved internship or apprenticeship in the industry. Once deemed eligible, a candidate has two years to pass the exam. Additionally, CIC is reviewing the CMP recertification application and soon will announce changes.