Conference planners want ‘more efficient’ visa processing in 2023

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Washington, DC Photo Credit: Caleb Fisher on

Welcoming international conference delegates back to the USA and tackling climate change will be top of the agenda for the Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance (ECA) this year.

Specifically, the organisation, which was established in 2021 during the pandemic, wants to restore visas to pre-pandemic levels and ‘encourage smart decarbonisation’.

The Washington, DC-based trade body has this week published its 2023 public policy priorities, which also include lobbying government to develop the industry’s workforce and ‘ensuring a favourable operating environment’.

 Hervé Sedky, Emerald Holding Inc. president, CEO, and chair of the ECA board of directors, said: “As the unified advocacy voice of the face-to-face business events industry, ECA’s 2023 public policy priorities serve as our industry’s north star as we continue to engage with policymakers to help drive economic growth, support job creation, and empower small businesses from coast to coast.”

The ECA board of directors further identified five top issues for the coming year.

•          Prevent anti-growth state-level taxation of the industry

•          Bring back communicable disease coverage to event cancellation insurance

•          Restore visa operations to pre-pandemic levels while making visa processing more modern and efficient

•          Encourage smart decarbonisation efforts by governments while ensuring the right balance between environmental aims and industry feasibility

•          Support government policy and programmes to attract, train, and retain the industry’s next-generation workforce

“ECA will be actively engaged on the issues that matter to the industry in 2023,” said Vinnie Polito, Society of Independent Show Organisers CEO and ECA co-president.

“From working on the restoration of visa processing at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world to fighting back against efforts to introduce growth-stifling taxes on our industry, ECA will be front and centre to champion our interests.”

Since its establishment in 2021, ECA supported the post-pandemic recovery and advancement of the face-to-face business events industry in Washington and across the USA.

 In 2023, ECA will look to build upon its advocacy successes over the last two years including:

•          Leading campaigns in 2021 to reopen states and cities for large-scale face-to-face events

•          Working to eliminate country-and-region-specific travel bans and lift pre-departure testing requirements for vaccinated inbound international travellers to the U.S

•          Supporting federal relief programs – which delivered $800 million to industry small businesses and other stakeholders

•          Securing the introduction of legislation that would provide relief for small businesses, help restore communicable disease coverage and event cancellation insurance

•          Launching ECA Legislative Action Day and ECA Small Business Advocacy Week

David DuBois, International Association of Exhibitions and Events president and CEO, and ECA co-president, added: “In 2023, we look forward to amplifying the voice of our industry’s many passionate advocates in the policymaking process, including at ECA Legislative Action Day, which will return to Washington, DC in person on June 1, 2023.”

ECA’s 2023 public policy priorities can be viewed here.


James Lancaster
Written By
James Lancaster

AMI editor James Lancaster is a familiar face in the meetings industry and international association community. Since joining AMI in 2010, he has gained a reputation for asking difficult questions and getting lost in convention centres. Proofer, podcaster, and panellist - in his spare time, James likes to walk, read, listen to music, and drink beer.


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