September 14, 2005

Meeting Professionals International will offer a new educational program to help planners move up in their organizations. Available to MPI chapters as a Platinum Series program, "Strategic Meetings Management -- An Overview," was taken from the second white paper produced by the association's Global Corporate Circle of Excellence. The class offers eight critical steps to developing a strategic meetings management program. The Platinum Series is sponsored by American Express.

Last week, the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International held its largest annual trade show, Affordable Meetings National. The education-heavy event, held on Sept. 6-7 at the Washington (D.C.) Convention Center, brought in 1,756 meeting planners and 520 exhibitors. The organization also launched plans last week for an Asia-Pacific chapter, with an inaugural conference for the region, Asia Connect, scheduled for October.

According to the Travel Industry Association of America's Travel Price Index, travel for the month of July 2005 increased 5.2 percent over July 2004. Gasoline prices increased 6.5 percent in July 2005 over the previous month and 19.6 percent over June 2004. Airfares climbed 7 percent in July 2005 compared with July 2004.

Yesterday, the Convention Industry Council released its 2004 Economic Impact Study, an analysis of the value of the meetings industry to the national economy. The study found that meetings, conventions, exhibitions and incentive travel generated $122.31 billion in 2004, more than the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry. It accounts for 1.71 million jobs, as well. In contrast, M&C’s 2004 Meetings Market Report found meeting expenditures in 2003 to be $44.7 billion. Most of that difference occurs because the CIC’s report figures in incidental spending by attendees, and M&C’s survey does not.