MMBC Chair Report: 2022 in Review
MMBC Chair Laura Pallotta
It’s been an enormous year!
Twelve months ago, little did we know that we still had one more pandemic wave to manage when, on December 23, most provinces started shutting down and in-person meetings were in jeopardy. It was another long winter for our stakeholders and for the country as a whole.
MMBC, along with our Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) advocacy partners, focused on supporting our stakeholders through another rough period, working along with the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses to advocate for extending government support, easing restrictions and removing barriers to travel.
On April 1, when the federal government removed pre-entry test requirements for fully vaccinated travellers, it signalled that some sort of normalcy was on the horizon. Group demand restarted and short-term business events resumed in Canada.
Around this time, MMBC created a dedicated government relations committee, led by Minto Schneider, that works with TIAC on a list of specific needs for our sector.
Global Meetings Industry Day
MMBC focused on Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) in April by hosting a series of roundtable discussions that garnered feedback from our Board members as well as business events industry leaders. They shared their thoughts on precisely what our sector needs to regain stability in the short term, and they helped coordinate our point of view on what we need in the long term in order to survive and thrive.
Watch our GMID 2022 advocacy video
Advocacy in Action
During 2022, our Executive Team and Board members were asked to update many different industry groups on our advocacy work and progress. We participated in various sessions with Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, to inform the Federal Tourism Growth Strategy. We participated in TIAC’s Hill Days, a series of in-person meetings with Members of Parliament, Senators and other decision makers, with positive indications that advocacy messaging related to the business events industry is resonating with elected officials.
On October 1, the federal government removed all remaining COVID restrictions and testing requirements for international travellers. Associations are planning their annual congresses again and the industry’s booking horizon is starting to lengthen. However, there is still an enormous amount of work to be done to improve booking pace in the coming years.
Actions for 2023
Within MMBC, our Nominations committee is implementing a rigorous process for our Board succession planning and the Communications, Membership and Finance committees are working diligently to inform, welcome new and returning members and prepare our receipts for the future.
As we look to 2023, we are creating three new committees: Research, Long-term Strategic Growth Planning, as well as a special committee looking into how we might organize full-time paid resources to support our hardworking volunteer Board.
We are embarking on our first formal PR campaign this winter that will get our advocacy messaging in front of elected officials as well as the consumer marketplace. The timing is right, especially leading into the federal government budget submission period.
Meetings Mean Business Canada has momentum. Much of what we’ve been focusing on is starting to fall into place. We have increased membership, expanded our Board, enhanced elected officials’ knowledge and understanding of our sector and we are developing a game plan to grow our coalition commensurate with our status as a critical, foundational and growing arm of the tourism economy.
My gratitude and thanks go out to the chairs of our committees: Vice-chair Minto Schneider, who also leads the Government Relations effort, Jeff Nearing for Finance, Laura Purdy for Communications, Grant Snider on Membership & Engagement and Angie Pfeifer for Nominations, along with the entire Board of Directors and the many volunteers who have worked tirelessly on behalf of our industry.
It’s been my great pleasure to work alongside our industry’s resourceful and creative minds to shine a bright light on business events and the incredible opportunities the industry affords communities across Canada.
Wishing you a safe and happy Holiday Season!
Regional Vice President
Sales and Distribution – Canada Region