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Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance Applauds House Passage of the Relief for Restaurants and other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act of 2022

Washington, DC, April 7, 2022 — Today the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA) applauded the House of Representatives for passing the Relief for Restaurants and other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act of 2022. The legislation, endorsed by ECA, would provide $13 billion for a new Hard Hit Industries Award Program that will provide awards to hard-hit small businesses across all industries, including the face-to-face business events industry, that were not eligible for the Restaurant Relief Fund or the Shuttered Venues Operators Grant Program.

“Small businesses are critical to ensuring a strong post-pandemic business events industry nationwide, which is why today’s vote in the House of Representatives was so important,” said Hervé Sedky, Emerald Holding Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the ECA board. “The Relief for Restaurants and other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act of 2022 will provide a much-needed lifeline to our small businesses as they continue along their road to recovery.”

Prior to the pandemic, the face-to-face business events industry supported 6.6 million jobs nationwide and contributed $396 billion annually to U.S. gross domestic product. Unfortunately, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research found that total business-to-business event activity in 2021 was still 57.5% below pre-pandemic levels. This ongoing decline has been particularly hard on our industry’s small businesses, which are the driving force behind conventions and trade shows nationwide. More than 99% of all business events companies are small businesses, and 80% of all exhibitors from coast to coast are small businesses.

“Small businesses are the driving force behind face-to-face business events, which are growth engines for so many other small businesses from coast to coast across every major sector of the U.S. economy,” Sedky added. “We urge the Senate to take up the cause of small business relief and ensure that the Hard Hit Industries Award Program becomes law as soon as possible.”

  About ECA

The Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA) is a coalition of nine professional, industry, and labor organizations dedicated to the recovery and advancement of the face-to-face business events industry. To learn more about ECA and its efforts, please visit

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 1. MUSIC Act / small business relief legislation 

  • Congress is finalizing its Fiscal Year 2022 omnibus legislation, which will fund the federal government through September 30
    • Unfortunately, the bipartisan small business relief package, which included the MUSIC Act, was not included in the final legislation
      • The bill was unable to secure the votes needed for inclusion due to (a) GOP concerns over offsetting the cost of the $48 billion bill and (b) supplemental funding added for Ukraine aid ($14 billion) 
      • Of note, President Biden’s $15.6 billion request for COVID-related aid was also removed from the final omnibus package 
    • ECA will continue to work with its Congressional champions on securing a path forward for the MUSIC Act
      • Sen. Ben Cardin, Chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, has already approached Majority Leader Chuck Schumer about moving small business package as stand-alone legislation 
      • Additionally, several MUSIC Act supporters are separately exploring options to add the bill to future Senate legislation as a bipartisan amendment 

2. Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) Reinstatement Act 

  • Legislation that would retroactively restore the Q4 2021 ERTC benefit for small businesses continues to gain momentum on Capitol Hill
    • The ERTC Reinstatement Act has 67 co-sponsors in the House and 4 in the Senate
      • Before it lapsed, the ERTC was worth up to $28,000 per employee in 2021 for businesses with fewer than 500 employees 

3. National Cleaning Week 

  • ECA partner ISSA – The Worldwide Cleaning Association is hosting its annual National Cleaning Week from March 27-April 2
    • ECA is a National Cleaning Week supporting organization and encourages its alliance partners to add their support by contacting John Nothdurft at 

4. Save the date: ECA Legislative Action Week 

  • ECA’s Legislative Action Week will take place virtually this year from June 6-10!
    • ECA’s annual policy briefing and advocacy training session will take place on June 6, with Congressional meetings taking place from June 7-10 
    • Stay tuned for more details and registration information, which will be available soon 

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1. Pandemic Risk Insurance Act (PRIA)
  •  On February 23, Republicans on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services held a virtual roundtable on future pandemic risk
    • ECA submitted a statement for the record highlighting the importance of restoring communicable disease coverage within event cancellation insurance.
    • The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) testified at the event, and the Business Continuity Coalition, of which ECA and ASAE are members, also submitted a statement for the record
  • MarketWatch recently highlighted ECA in an article on the ongoing return of business events and need for communicable disease coverage going forward
2. MUSIC Act / small business relief legislation
  • Last week, Congress passed a continuing resolution to extend the deadline fund the federal government for fiscal year 2022 until March 11
    •  Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) continue to push to attach a $48 billion small business relief bill, including the MUSIC Act, onto government funding legislation, though there are emerging priorities that may also require additional funds
      • President Biden has requested $30 billion in additional COVID-19 funding
      • It is anticipated Congress will also need to appropriate billions of dollars in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine
  •  ECA continues to work with its Congressional champions to ensure the MUSIC Act is part of any supplemental small business relief package taken up by Congress in the coming weeks
    • ECA would like to thank Trade Show Executive for its recent article highlighting our recent Small Business Advocacy Week and MUSIC Act advocacy efforts
    •  In addition, ECA board member Chris Griffin and Tommy Goodwin were featured on The Don & Mike Show podcast to talk about the latest regarding industry advocacy
3. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rulemaking on business impersonation fraud
  • On February 15, ECA joined the Consumer Technology Association and others in responding to the FTC’s advance notice of proposed rulemaking on business impersonation fraud
    • The business events industry continues to be targeted by various fraudulent scam efforts including hotel reservation scams and attendee list sale scams
    • ECA called on the FTC to (1) establish a rule prohibiting the deceptive impersonation of a business or non-profit and (2) increase education to consumers, businesses, and other stakeholders on the dangers of business impersonation fraud

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1. ECA Small Business Advocacy Week 

  • This week, ECA successfully held its first Small Business Advocacy Week, a “pop up” virtual Capitol Hill fly-in for our small business owners and industry advocates
  •  ECA held 20+ meetings with Senate Small Business Committee members, party leaders, and other members who are critical to passage of the ECA-supported MUSIC Act and a broader package of small business relief measures 
  • ECA thanks all of the industry advocates who participated, as well as ECA alliance partners ESCA, EDPA, and IAEE for their support in recruiting event participants 

2. MUSIC Act / small business relief legislation 

  • The MUSIC Act continues to be part of the ongoing efforts in the Senate to craft a bipartisan relief package for small businesses still disproportionately impacted by the pandemic o
    • At this time, a bipartisan working group of key Senators is working to assemble legislative text and identify potential offsets to pay for at least part of the package
    • Notably, the MUSIC Act only seeks to spend already-appropriated funds, which would not require additional federal spending
  • Next week, Congress will extend the deadline to fund the federal government for Fiscal Year 2022 from February 18 until March 11
    • This date is important, as Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) would like to attach a small business relief package to the forthcoming government funding legislation, should it meet the 60-vote Senate threshold for moving legislation 

3. Pandemic Risk Insurance Act (PRIA) 

  • Efforts continue on Capitol Hill to find a solution that would help bring back communicable disease coverage to event cancellation insurance  
    • PRIA, introduced in the House of Representatives last November by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), currently has 11 co-sponsors
    • In the Senate, there are encouraging signs that legislation addressing pandemic risk may be brought forward in the coming months 
    • ECA also understands that forthcoming appropriations bill may contain report language that would direct the Department of Treasury to study the economic impact of future pandemic-related risk 
  • ECA will continue to prioritize finding a public-private solution that restores the market for communicable disease coverage within event cancellation insurance and prevents against catastrophic financial loss stemming from future pandemics 

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Business Events Usher in 2022 with World of Concrete, PGA & More Staging in January as Trade Shows Return

January 25, 2022 – Business-to-business (B2B) in-person 2022 events are returning to business with multiple shows readying to stage this month produced by members of the Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance (ECA), a coalition of professional, industry, and labor organizations that comprise the unified voice of the face-to-face business events industry and a driving force behind the safe reopening of B2B events taking place across the country. The year kicked off with a strong showing at Surf Expo, held earlier this month in Orlando, Fl, which saw hundreds of small and medium businesses gathered to safely meet with buyers, press, and other industry professionals.

Last week, Informa Markets brought World of Concrete back to the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas. Taking place January 18-20, 2022, World of Concrete brought nearly 40,000 attendees and 1,100 exhibiting suppliers to the show floor, twice the show’s size in June 2021, and close to pre-pandemic levels.  The June show was one of the first B2B in-person events to successfully stage last year, helping jumpstart the business events industry for the first time since the pandemic began, serving as a bellwether for the industry. The event will be followed by RX’s PGA Show and Emerald’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, both taking place in Orlando, Tarsus Group’s OFFPRICE Show taking place in Las Vegas and MHI’s MODEX 2022 show taking place in Atlanta. Each event is expected to generate growth for their respective industry and millions of dollars in economic impact for their host cities.

Charlie McCurdy, President and CEO, Informa Markets, said, “With success and safety at the heart of our planning, we are thrilled to be delivering the in-person event format in 2022, kicking off with World of Concrete in Las Vegas on January 18 through 20. We’re moving forward with that event, and many others in the US, Europe & the Middle East, Asia, and elsewhere, based on our communities’ enduring belief in the value of the platforms we provide, and need to reconnect and recover together.”

McCurdy added that the trade show and events industry has a big responsibility.  “We play an important role in stimulating the vitality of the global industries we serve and the regional economies that host our events,” he said. “Trade shows traditionally generate $325 billion in business sales annually for a wide variety of industries, and World of Concrete—one of our 400 market-defining events around the world—delivered an economic impact of an estimated $109 million to Las Vegas in January 2020.”

While events are seeing scattered cancelations from exhibitors and attendees due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the latest Omicron variant, thousands of businesses remain committed to attending trade show events in 2022. Business events are a crucial resource for small businesses to help them rebound and recover from the impacts of the pandemic and they rely on trade shows as a primary source for networking and deal-making that moves their business forward. From June through October 2021, more than 1,000,000 people – exhibitors, small and large business owners, and other attendees –flocked to hundreds of events held in dozens of major cities across the United States, supporting this nearly $400 billion industry that is vital to the existence of small and mid-sized businesses and helps fuel the U.S. economy.

Ken Kosak, PGA Show general manager/COO of Belfair in Bluffton, SC and PGA attendee underscored the importance of PGA to his business, saying, “The PGA Show is an essential part of our annual business plan. The ability to meet in an organized setting and see firsthand the latest trends in the industry…is invaluable to me in managing our club. Much of our industry is driven by relationship building and networking, and to be able to see longtime friends, colleagues, and business partners in person…is incredibly exciting. I have tremendous confidence in PGA Leadership in hosting the PGA Show in an environment where everyone feels comfortable attending.”

As members of the ECA, the organizers of these B2B in-person events are committed to upholding the highest health and safety standards and to creating an event experience where everyone can safely and effectively conduct business.

Tarsus CEO Douglas Emslie noted how crucial the OFFPRICE Show is to the retail industry this year, more than ever, due to ongoing supply chain disruptions. “The OFFPRICE Show brings the US retail industry together; it’s where retailers come to source in-stock inventory that can ship quickly and to meet all the important vendors under one roof.  Given the disruption that supply chains have experienced over the past two years shows like this are more critical than ever, especially for small and medium size businesses.”

Emslie added, “Virtual events were a useful solution for some industries at the height of the pandemic but for many industries, especially retail, nothing can replace the value of a live event and the opportunity to see products in-person, meet new contacts and write orders on the show floor. Our customers appreciate the opportunity to close business in a safe and secure environment – it would take buyers weeks and multiple trips to meet with the same number of vendors outside of a show.”

“We are committed and excited to lead the way in bringing in-person events back to our customers in a safe and productive way. Attendee presence at Emerald’s recent events has been driven by the need to meet rising consumer demand, which has resulted in extensive order writing and new business generation for our exhibitors, especially small and mid-size businesses who are heavily reliant on trade shows to drive their business,” said Hervé Sedky, President and Chief Executive Officer of Emerald.

“This critical business function coupled with the positive feedback from our customers reinforces the relevance and sustainable value of our B2B in-person events. Throughout the reopening process, we have remained vigilant about the health and safety of all who attend our events and remain committed to providing the safest environment possible for our trade shows and conferences,” Sedky added.

PGA Golf Exhibitions Vice President Marc Simon said that PGA Professionals and golf buyers have expressed a pent-up demand for sourcing merchandise and services and miss the in-person experience with products and company leadership at the PGA Show. “There is a strong desire to return to peer networking and solutions-based programming to leverage the rising consumer interest in the sport and navigate the related challenges the golf industry faces,” he said. “The 2022 PGA Show will look different from previous events but will be a welcome return to connecting in-person with peers and industry leaders and can be a bridge to help our industry adapt and thrive as we move forward.”With over 850 exhibitors in more than 400,000 square feet of exhibit space, MODEX 2022, taking place March 28 – 31 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA, will provide in-person, in-action solutions, insights and four keynotes, including Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Shaquille O’Neil. Coupled with 172 show floor sessions, MODEX 2022 will let you see what’s coming by providing practical solutions to complex problems and the education needed to innovate this industry.

“MHI is committed to the global supply chain industry and is eagerly moving forward with producing a safe, dynamic, and productive exhibition this March in Atlanta.  Our association, community and affiliated organizations need to re-engage in order to power this very critical industry forward. We cannot and will not turn back,” said Daniel McKinnon, Executive Vice President, Exhibitions, MHI.

About ECA: The Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance (ECA) represents the common interests of the U.S. exhibitions and conferences industry to legislators. A coalition of eight partner organizations, ECA promotes the impact of the sector, drives general industry awareness, drives legislation on behalf of business events, advocates for the industry’s common interests, and works with partners globally as needed, to maintain a favorable operating environment within the United States. For more information, please visit

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