By Andrea DiMickele | May 04, 2012
The leaders of the National Speakers Association have worked tirelessly to ensure that the speaking profession is recognized as an integral part of the convention and meetings industry. As a result, speakers are acknowledged as thought leaders who deliver messages of value in meetings and conferences worldwide.
A few years ago, the meetings industry came under attack when government leaders mistakenly characterized it as underperforming companies spending frivolously on lavish meetings. Many members of our industry have worked to better educate these leaders, and we have recently seen an upturn in meetings and conventions business.
Recently, continued outrage over excessive spending at a 2010 U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) conference in Las Vegas has produced a bill to cut government-sponsored travel and conference spending by 20 percent. If successful, this legislation could create another decline in an industry which is the eighth largest contributor to the gross domestic product in the United States.
NSA is concerned that this legislation could be a challenge to those who are hired to work in the government meetings sector, in addition to other client segments (associations, corporations, etc.) that want to avoid any perceived negativity connected with holding meetings. It is important to note that while the legislation has passed through Congress, it has not yet been signed into law by President Obama.
NSA supports the work being done by our industry partners to inform and educate legislators regarding the potential impact that this legislation will have on the U.S. economy. This is where the industry needs your help.
First, please consider sending a letter to your Congressman expressing your concerns about the proposed legislations. You can find your Congressman’s contact information at www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml.
Second, NSA encourages you sign ASAE’s industry-wide petition to Congress. ASAE is collecting support before sending an open letter to Congress representing our industry. Go to www.asaecenter.org/Advocacy/fedsignon.cfm.
The industry’s message is simple: The gross mismanagement of any public trust should be dealt with immediately and stridently (which it has been). But, the across-the-board imposition restricting government employee attendance at conferences and events will further disrupt our nation’s recovering economy and send an unfavorable message about the value of meetings.