What do the forestry, agriculture and entertainment sectors have in common with meetings and events? The meetings industry is on par with all these sectors in terms of their impact on the Canadian economy as a whole. But as amazing as it may sound — almost unbelievable to many — the numbers do indeed tell the story.
Earlier this year, the MPI Foundation Canada released the Canadian Economic Impact Study (CEIS) 3.0, a study produced by Maritz Research, Conference Board of Canada, Greenfield Services and the Canadian Tourism Human Resources Council. This study demonstrated that the business events industry in Canada attracted 35.3 million participants and involved $29.1 billion in direct spending across a broad range of participants and non-participants.
The aim of CEIS 3.0 was to report on the economic significance of meetings, specifically business events, held in Canada for the base year 2012. Building on the original CEIS conducted for the base year 2006 and other subsequent studies conducted in the United States, Mexico and United Kingdom, this study included the additional capacity to produce economic assessment of business events at the regional, provincial and metropolitan levels.
Here are some interesting statistics revealed by CEIS 3.0:
- 585,000 business events were hosted at 2,100 different venues.
- Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa accounted for 41 per cent of the 585,000 events and drew 17.3 million participants.
- Toronto employed 57,000 full time employees in the events sector, followed by Vancouver at 39,000, Montreal at 28,000, Calgary at 24,000, Edmonton at 18,000 and Ottawa at 16,000.
- In total, the meetings sector employed over 340,000 people with an average annual wage of $50,600.
- These events delivered $27.5 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) — approximately 1.5 per cent of Canada’s total GDP.
- Business events supported $55 billion in economic activity for Canadian business.
- Business events contributed $8.5 billion in taxes and service fees to all levels of government.
- The 35 million people who attended business events in Canada in 2012 included 30.7 million delegates, over 2 million exhibitors and 2.6 million professional speakers or other attendees.
- Of those, 14. 6 million attendees (41 per cent) were tourists, having travelled more than 80 km to attend the business event with 1.5 million of these tourists coming from other countries.
These numbers are very similar to those of the forestry, agriculture and entertainment sectors. Numbers do tell the story! Now we need to do the same. The government does not recognize the business events/meeting sector as an industry. This imbalance can be corrected. It is up to us to drive awareness. It is our responsibility to urge government, corporate Canada, academia and the public at large to recognize the magnitude of the business events/meeting sector, to identify the strengths and challenges unique to each province and actively support the sector’s continued growth and competitiveness within each province.
A call to action
We have powerful information and by speaking out, writing articles, making presentations, attending governmental forums, continuing with initiatives like North American Meetings Industry Day and taking this information into the schools and educating our future industry leaders, one day at a time, we will bring public awareness to our sector and the movement to becoming an industry.
The Canadian Economic Impact Study (CEIS 3.0) was transitioned from MPI Foundation Canada to the Business Events Industry Coalition of Canada (BEICC) in June 2014. The BEICC’s mission is to elevate awareness and activate in-market use of the CEIS study findings to ensure that the business events industry is not an overlooked asset.
Visit www.BEICC.com to download the Executive Summary and the full reports. Use this material at every opportunity to elevate the business events/meeting industry of the future — a future that is only getting stronger and brighter. The findings of CEIS 3.0, along with future research, represent proof the industry is a formidable force, contributing heavily not only to the economy but also shaping how people come together, interact, innovate, and bond.