Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

October 15 2013

The Numbers Are In: How Much the Government Shutdown is Costing Your Colleagues

By David McMillin

government closed

After two weeks of furloughed workers, shuttered national parks and a damaged global reputation, the shutdown of the federal government drags on. There are murmurs of progress in Washington, D.C., but meeting professionals and tourism leaders are feeling the consequences of Congressional bickering.

The Global Business Travel Association conducted a survey of its members, and the results indicate that 57 percent of respondents have cancelled meetings or business opportunities due to the shutdown while 50 percent of respondents had cancelled bookings. Finally, 48 percent indicated that contracts with government agencies had either been delayed or cancelled.

“The shutdown is damaging productivity and leading to lost business opportunities and revenue that can’t be recovered,” Michael W. McCormick, COO and Executive Director, Global Business Travel Association, says. “This uncertainty hurts employee morale, holds back business growth and, if not stopped, can easily deliver a serious blow to the overall global economy.”

SEE ALSO: What the Federal Government Shutdown Means for Meetings

Meeting Revenue Falls in Florida Due to Shutdown

For a concrete example of the real impact that the shutdown is having on the meetings industry, take a look at Tampa, Florida. The GEOINT 2013 Symposium, originally scheduled to begin moving into the city’s convention center on October 9, was postponed. The conference unites more than 4,000 intelligence, defense and homeland security professionals, and 2013 was slated to be Tampa’s first year as its host destination. According to figures in a recent Tampa Bay Times article, the city will lose more than 7,000 hotel room nights, and the local economy will be shortchanged a $5 million impact from the business.

While conference organizers at the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation have already determined a makeup date in April 2014, the new dates could hold challenges for attendees and exhibitors.

“We regretfully understand [the new dates] may put our event closer to or overlapping with some other events,” Keith J. Masback, CEO, USGIF, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, this is the only time in the first half of the year open for the Tampa Convention Center and surrounding hotels. It is also the only financially tenable option for USGIF.”

SEE ALSO: Shutdown Shuts Down Key Government Meeting

The problem in Tampa is only glimpse of what’s happening around the country, and if lawmakers don’t act quickly, these problems could get much worse. A potential default looms overhead as both sides of the aisle attempt to devise a resolution.

Has your business felt the impact of the shutdown? If so, share your story below.

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