24 25 fantastic exhibitions that we all know and love.” When DuBois says “all,”he isn’t exaggerating much, considering that 32.5 million Americans attend some kind of trade show or event, every year, pumping over $70 billion of direct and indi- rect funds into the nation’s economy.“Those are numbers that raise eyebrows,” says Bowman.And it’s those types of numbers that the IAEE likes to impart to members of the U.S. Congress,when it exercises its advocacy function as mandated by Pillar One. “Three years ago,we started Exhibitions Day on Capitol Hill,”DuBois says.“This will be our third year,where we bring over a hundred of our mem- bers up to the Hill.We brief them for a couple of hours and then we make legislative calls all day long, getting to over a hundred Representatives, Senators, and/or their staffs, and we focus on issues that are important to us.”“It’s a great way to raise awareness of the industry,”Bowman adds. “When they’re out there voting on things or pro- posing legislation, they think back to the meeting that they had with our industry professionals, because we really are a huge economic force in local communities.” DuBois elaborates upon the industry’s strong economic influence, noting that, historically, the exhibition and events industry trails just behind a country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).“If the economy is soft, attendance is soft, because peo- ple may not want to spend $50 for a ticket to a boat show or a garden show; theymight need that extra hundred dollars for food that month, because the economy’s tough. So,we’re always trailing just behind GDP.” That being said,DuBois goes on to state that, right now, both the industry and the GDP are in good shape.”We’re at 2 ½ to 3 percent growth,”he says.“By 2018,we will be at the highest level of volume of exhibition revenues and attendance in the history of our industry. So,we’re very healthy –predominantly in the United States; Europe’s a little softer, although Germany continues to be strong; Spain is coming back a little bit; Latin America is struggling because of Brazil; Mexi- co’s okay; Canada’s always steady; China’s doing well at 7percent growth; India’s at 3 or 4 percent growth. So, overall, our industry’s very healthy and it’s all tied to GDP in countries around the world.” Both DuBois and Bowman believe that the eco- nomic impact of the exhibitions and events indus- try cannot be over-emphasized.“Everybody goes to meetings,” says DuBois.“Everybody is involved, as an adult, in going to and attending, or walk- ing through a trade show at some point in time, whether it’s a car show, a garden show, a jewelry show, a consumer electronics show–CES, every January in Vegas, has 150,000 people.” And as long as these shows continue to draw such large and sustained crowds,worldwide, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events will persevere in its mission of providing its stakeholders in the global exhibitions and events industry with the information and re- sources that will help advance and promote their success, both here and abroad. IAEE