Defining Conventions as Urban Innovation and Economic Accelerators

The meetings and conventions industry is evolving into a global innovation distribution channel. Over the last decade, convention bureaus have been collaborating more strategically with their local and state governments, economic development agencies, academic and scienti c institutions, and local business improvement districts to better leverage the value of conventions in their cities, especially those aligned with their regions’ high-priority growth sectors.

The collective goal among those private and public organizations is to attract more conventions in advanced and creative industries to help position their cities as economic and innovation accelerators, in an effort to attract outside corporate investment and talent more effectively in those industries.

The meetings industry is not completely bereft of science studying the long-term impacts of conventions on a region’s economic growth. Most notably, the “Beyond Tourism Benefits” research series developed by Business Events Sydney and the University of Technology Sydney is considered the benchmark for insight on this subject. The thrust of the research shows that convention bureaus are an integral part of a destination’s long-term economic development strategy when they’re aligned with local and state government policy.

“Convention bureaus have typically come under the tourism remit”, says UTS professor Deborah Edwards, one of the principal architects of Beyond Tourism Benefits. “But what our research shows is that convention bureaus really should come under the remit of the industry and trade ministries, which usually have more funding attached to them.”.

The purpose of this Skift research report, produced in collaboration with Meetings Mean Business, is to elevate the conversation around the importance of defining the legacy economic impacts of conventions, and to explore how the public and private sectors in certain cities are collaborating to build on those impacts more effectively.

Defining Conventions as Urban Innovation and Economic Accelerators (Skift / Meetings Mean Business)

Article about the report’s Las Vegas content (Las Vegas Sun)

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