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Business events are global economic drivers

According to a new report by the Events Industry Council, in 2017 face-to-face business events generated more than $600 billion of the Global Gross Domestic Product and contributed $1.5 trillion – the 14th largest sector in the world.

The study, conducted by Oxford Economics, is the first worldwide study of economic significance of business events. 

“For the first time our industry is able to prove just how formidable an economic engine business events are globally,” said Cathy Breden, chair of the Event Industry Council’s Research Committee. “This study enables everyone involved in bringing people together for meaningful face-to-face interactions to show their true value and substantial contributions to growth and opportunity.”

In addition, the study found business events generated more than 10.3 million jobs globally in 2017.

Fifty countries accounted for 96 percent of the overall $1.07 trillion in direct spending. The United States led with $325 billion, followed by China, Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan. 

Key findings:

  • More than 1.5 billion people across more than 180 countries were involved in business events. 
  • The $1.07 trillion of direct spending by business events comprised spending to plan and produce business events, business events-related travel and other direct spending, such as spending by exhibitors.
  • On average, $704 was spent per business event participant.
  • The top 50 countries accounted for $1 trillion of business events direct spending, representing 96 percent of the global total.
  • The business events sector generated more sales than many large global sectors, including consumer electronics and computers and office equipment.

For clarification, when calculating data, the production of a business event often involves employees working onsite, including banquet staff as well as audio-visual staff and contracted service providers, such as entertainment/production services, décor, speakers and trainers, advertising and promotion. Such employees represent direct jobs supported by the business events sector. 

At the same time, travel and accommodations supports direct spending and jobs across a range of service providers in the travel sector. All is considered activity supported by business events’ direct spending, and is part of the business event sector’s direct impacts.

“While this study focuses on the value of the industry to the overall global economy, the many other benefits resulting from the business events that are held should not be overlooked,” the report says. “To the millions of attendees annually, these events provide an invaluable source of adult learning, continuing education for professional certifications and licensure, a forum for developing and maintaining professional contacts, an effective and efficient means of enhancing sales efforts, a medium for information exchange leading to innovation, new medical treatments and research breakthroughs, among other benefits.”

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