In 2010, 116,000 international participants could not attend U.S. trade shows because of visa issues, says a new Oxford Economics study commissioned by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR). The number includes 78,400 international attendees and 37,900 international exhibitors.
Oxford Economics estimates that if visa barriers were removed, the U.S. economy would realize a business sales increase of $2.4 billion (or $2.6 billion, including sales to foreign exhibitors). Included in that $2.4 billion total is $1.5 billion in business to business trade, $540 million in registration fees and exhibition space spending, and $295 million in visitor spending on hotels, restaurants, retail and ground transportation.
“This study quantifies the importance of U.S. exhibitions in generating export trade and stimulating job growth,” said Steven Hacker, CAE, president of the International Association of Exhibition and Events (IAEE). “While we are mindful of the need for careful screening of international visitors entering the U.S., keeping our borders secure should not be at the expense of keeping our economy open for business. The U.S. will lose sales to other countries if we continue on this path. We intend to present these findings to several key federal agencies including the State, Homeland Security and Commerce departments, and work with officials to find an optimal solution.”
For more information, visit ceir.org.