Today, the tourism industry will come together to celebrate Global Meetings Industry Day—an international day of advocacy showcasing the undeniable value that business meetings, trade shows, incentive travel, exhibitions, conferences, and conventions bring to people, businesses, and communities.
This year’s theme, Meet Safe, will highlight the ways in which successful, safe meetings are possible and taking place throughout the country—uniting colleagues and reminding them of the importance of face-to-face interaction—all while following protocols that keep meeting attendees safe.
Professional Meetings and Events (PMEs) accounted for 42% of all business travel spending and 11% of all travel spending in the U.S. prior to the pandemic (2019).
The nearly $130 billion in PME-related travel spending in the U.S. directly supported:
- 800,000 American jobs
- $42 billion in employee payroll
- $19 billion in federal, state, and local tax receipts
The COVID-19 pandemic has decimated PMEs—a sector that suffered even worse losses than the overall travel industry.
This once-powerful travel industry segment and major economic driver saw a staggering 76% decline in direct travel spending in 2020. In other words, spending was at just 24% of 2019 levels.
In comparison, overall travel spending in the U.S. (domestic and international) declined by 42%.
$97 billion in PME-related travel spending was lost in 2020 alone. As a result of the reduced travel spending:
- 640,000 American jobs were lost
- $29 billion in potential payroll receipts were lost
- $14 billion in potential travel-generated taxes were lost
Discover Saratoga, also known as the Saratoga Convention & Tourism Bureau, is a key economic development engine for Saratoga County driving millions of tourism and event dollars into our local economy each year.
In 2019, Discover Saratoga worked with 592 groups who generated 98,765 room nights with an estimated annual economic impact of $65.6 million! In fact, Discover Saratoga’s group market was responsible for 1 of every 5 room nights booked in the city.
In 2020, a global pandemic shut down the world and the results were devastating. We saw the lowest performance metrics to date.
PMEs resumed in 2021 as attendees began to feel comfortable traveling and meeting face-to-face once again. These events are vital to our local economy. Not only do meeting attendees occupy hotel rooms, but they also patronize our local businesses.
2022 is looking strong for tourism! With COVID-19 cases remaining low and vaccination rates high, we are anticipating a return to pre-pandemic normalcy this summer. Thanks to major demand generators like Saratoga Race Course, Saratoga Performing Arts Center and Live Nation, we’re already seeing an uptick in leisure travel.
We’re also forecasting a strong rebound among the corporate and group sectors. Planners are happily signing future year contracts, and consumer confidence is also rising. Hotel numbers for the latter part of the year are very promising, with some on track to exceed record breaking numbers from 2019.