1. ECA joins Exhibitions Industry Collective

Last week, ECA and five of its alliance partner associations (ESCA, EDPA, IAEE, IAVM, and SISO) announced the launch of the Exhibitions Industry Collective.

The big picture: The Exhibitions Industry Collaborative will initially focus its efforts on three areas vital to the future of the business events industry:

  • Workforce Development 👷
  • Sustainability ♻️
  • Health and safety 🏥

ECA’s view: “Partnership and collaboration are part of the DNA of ECA,” said Tommy Goodwin, FASAE, CAE, PMP, CMP, ECA Vice President. “I look forward to working with our partners in the Exhibitions Industry Collective to support and amplify their work on the issues that are critical to the future of the business events industry, especially attracting and training our next generation workforce.”

Go deeper: “Six Leading Industry Organizations Unite to Form Exhibitions Industry Collective.”

Read more from ASAE Inroads, EXHIBITOR, USAE News, BizBashTravel Daily News, The Tour News, Exhibit City News, and Exhibition Showcase.

2. Visa wait times improving in Brazil & India

In recent weeks, first-time visitor visa interview wait times have declined in Brazil and India, two of the top markets for inbound U.S. business visitors.

  • Brazil: At 40 days, average wait times at U.S. embassies and consulates are down more than 90% since last Spring.
  • India: While still unacceptably high at 256 days, average wait times have decreased more than 50% since October.
  • In China, average wait times have been below 120 days since September.

By the numbers: Despite the good news, there is still more to do. Average wait times exceed 2 years in Mexico and remain very high across Latin America and the Middle East.

  • Bogota: 706 days
  • Abu Dhabi: 453 days
  • Dubai: 414 days

What’s next: ECA will continue to prioritize funding an policy solutions on Capitol Hill that will further reduce first-time visitor visa appointment wait times.

3. ECA fighting digital ad tax proposals

While it’s still early in 2024, ECA is already fighting back against digital ad tax bills in several jurisdictions.

  • New York: ECA joined 17 other organizations on a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul warning against including a new digital ad tax in her budget proposal.
  • Washington, DC: ECA and its Ad Tax Coalition partners oppose a would-be tax on businesses that extract large amounts of data from District of Columbia residents (Facebook, Google, etc.).
  • Nebraska: Gov. Jim Pillen has proposed lowering property taxes by raising the state’s sales tax and taxing some services, including advertising. 

Why it matters: Digital advertising taxes would simply be passed onto organizers who market their business events online, thus raising costs. A similar Maryland law has been struck down as unconstitutional, but remains under appeal

  • ECA opposes taxes that would unfairly add costs to industry operators.

4. In case you missed it…