by Leo Jakobson | January 18, 2011
New industry trade show IMEX America has announced an exclusive partnership with the U.S. Travel Association, which will provide educational content about the politics and policy issues affecting the incentive, meetings, and events industry in America.

In the past year, the U.S. Travel Association (USTA) has taken the lead in defending the meetings and incentive industry from attacks by politicians, the mainstream press, and the public accusing it of being a wasteful boondoggle rather than an important business tool—the so-called AIG effect. Last March, the USTA formed the Meetings, Incentives, and Trade Show Council, co-chaired by Larry Luteran, senior vice president of group sales and industry relations for Hilton Worldwide, and former Maritz Travel President and CEO Christine Duffy, to give the incentive, meetings, and events industry a coordinated voice in Washington, DC, and the media. 

“We’re going to do a lot on government affairs and what’s going on, what are the politics involved in this industry,” says USTA CEO Roger Dow in a brief video clip of the announcement posted on the IMEX America Web site. “So it’s one place where everyone can come to not only do business but learn about the things that affect travel and meetings.”

IMEX Group Chairman Ray Bloom says the partnership “demonstrates our mutual commitment to encouraging best practices and good business within the industry and to elevating the importance of, and necessity for, informed and consistent government affairs in order that the industry is properly understood and fully supported at the highest political levels. The U.S. Travel Association brings tremendous power to IMEX America—and it is influence we intend to leverage to the full, and for the widest possible industry benefit.”

Aside from hosting a politics and policy seminar, the USTA will promote attendance at IMEX America, which will take place in Las Vegas on Oct. 11-13. Bloom adds that the partnership “signals IMEX America's commitment to doing all it can to support the long-term health, growth, and success of the meetings, incentive travel and events industry.”

In that statement, Dow added that the timing of IMEX America being at the end of the year makes it a good complement to the USTA’s own trade show, International Pow Wow, which takes place on May 21-25. “While International Pow Wow will continue to be the premier showcase for international leisure operators and meeting planners interested in U.S. business during the first half of the year, IMEX America’s focus on incentive travel, meetings, and events worldwide provides professionals in those segments another opportunity to develop contacts, network, and gain valuable knowledge about this market,” Dow says. “With U.S. Travel’s keen interest in promoting meetings, events, and incentive travel in our country year-round, IMEX America provides an ideal opportunity for us to raise visibility for this market during the second half of the year.”