ASAE Boston 1996's kickoff reception in historic Copley Square was so successful that outgoing Chairman Garis Distelhorst, CAE, announced, "Boston gets the gold medal for the best ASAE opening event in its 76-year history."

The American Society of Association Executives' (ASAE) 76th annual convention drew 5,526 delegates (of whom 2,426 were association executives), compared to 6,100 at last year's meeting. Two factors contributed to the drop. Last year's meeting was held in Washington, DC, a destination that always draws more walk-in traffic. Second, the Boston exhibit program was cut by 250 booths (25 percent), due to space limitations at the Hynes Convention Center. ASAE plans to downsize its exhibit program next year as well, to maintain a more balanced buyer-to-supplier ratio, says ASAE President R. William Taylor.

The Republican convention dominated news reports, but ASAE attendees were treated to a fiery-and often humorous -debate between wisecracking Clinton advisor James Carville and conservative commentator Linda Chavez at the opening session. At Monday's general session, attendees watched a moving video tribute to the hundreds of associations involved in rescue and relief efforts after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. They then gave a standing ovation to Oklahoma Restaurant Association Executive Vice President Bob Clifton as he accepted a special Associations Advance America Summit Award on behalf of Oklahoma associations.

Susan Bitter Smith, CAE, executive director of Arizona Cable Telecommunications Association in Phoenix, AZ, was installed as ASAE board chairman.

Tradeshow 200 Reaches Banner Year of Growth In 1995, the Tradeshow 200 experienced its best year in nearly a decade, showing big gains in space sales, exhibiting companies, and attendance, according to results published in Tradeshow Week's annual Tradeshow 200 study. Here are some other findings:

* The National Marine Manufacturers Association was the Tradeshow 200 leader, with two shows totaling 1.3 million net square feet of exhibit space.

* Las Vegas retains its 1994 position as number-one host city, bringing in 30 of the largest trade shows.

* The leading service contractor for the third straight year was GES Exposition Services, with 83 of the Tradeshow 200 shows, a 42 percent market share.

* The average Tradeshow 200 drew 837 exhibitors and 21,728 attendees and spanned 254,958 net square feet of paid exhibit space. At $15.72 per square foot, the average space rate increased eight percent over 1994.

The fastest growing shows included: * AWS International Welding & Fabricating Exposition (number 149), with attendance increasing 72 percent;

* American Library Association Annual Conference & Exhibits (number 175), showing a 65 percent growth in attendance;

* American Association for Clinical Chemistry Annual Meeting & Exhibits (number 197), with attendance climbing 62 percent; and

* American Rental Association Convention & Rental Tradeshow (number 77), with a 40 percent boost in attendance.

Javits Battle Continues With Proposed Labor Law The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center is once again making headlines, this time over a controversial labor licensing law that the state assembly passed in June. The legislation requires the licensing of show labor and allows Javits management to fingerprint employees, actions deemed necessary by Javits officials in their ongoing efforts to keep organized crime out of the convention center. But the legislation is badly flawed because it has provisions that "essentially put the Carpenters Union back in control of hiring," says Mike Eisgrau, director of public affairs at the Javits Center. Javits officials took control of hiring away from the unions last year.

Javits President Robert E. Boyle adds that the head of the New York City District Council of Carpenters was recently unseated because of his associations with organized crime. There are numerous other problems with the law, argues Boyle. "It is unintelligible, number one; and number two, it would create a minefield of technical objections, making the attorneys rich," he says.

A different version of the legislation, which is acceptable to Javits officials, was passed by the state senate last year. No law will go into effect until both state legislative houses concur. Javits officials plan to continue their fight for an acceptable assembly version when the 1997 legislative session starts up in January.

If passed, the law requiring the licensing of convention center labor may be the first such legislation in the nation, and Boyle predicts it will have a wide-reaching effect. "I think those of us running major convention centers have a new day dawning," he observes. "The public, and this industry, will no longer tolerate the kind of conditions tolerated in the past."

Javits officials plan to introduce another version of the licensing bill when the 1997 session starts up in January.

What is the reaction of show managers to the licensing law? "This seems like an in-house thing, not one I'd be inclined to get in the middle of. It looks like a family thing-with a small f," quips Bob Talley, president of Talley Management Group, an association and tradeshow management business. "The only thing I'm going to jump up and down about is if they start to infringe on anything that will hurt my show or impact on any of my vendors."

Trade Show News Network Launched AES Internet Services, formed by American Exhibition Services and The Larkin Group, launched the Trade Show News Network (TSNN) in August. TSNN is designed to facilitate communication among show producers, exhibitors, and attendees. Users can conduct searches by industry, trade show, city, date, company, and products to locate trade shows they may want to attend. Once users select a show, they can preregister online, make travel arrangements, exchangee-mail with show producers, and arrange appointments with exhibitors.

TSNN also aims to increase attendance and exhibitor participation by creating aggressive worldwide promotional campaigns for participating shows.

Industry organizations currently sponsoring or developing programs with TSNN include the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, the International Association for Exposition Management, and the International Exhibitors Association.

Northwest Airlines Gives Nonprofits a Break Northwest Airlines' Association Dollars Off Certificates (ADOCS) program was launched in June, with the goal of offering meeting planners more value with less hassle than the percentage discounts offered by other carriers. The program is available to associations and other nonprofit organizations.

Meeting attendees are given certificates, good for flat dollar amount discounts on applicable fares of $200 or more. Attendees receive $30 off fares ranging from $200 to $299; $50 off fares from $300 to $449; and $75 for fares over $450. Those figures will usually translate into greater savings than percentage discounts. If your ticket is $300, for example, you'd get $15 dollars off with the standard five percent discount, while the certificate cuts the price by more than16 percent.

To qualify, you must designate Northwest as your official airline, and at least ten attendees from two different cities must be attending. Planners still receive one free ticket for every 40 sold plus negotiable fares on site inspections.

The user-friendly certificates should boost attendance because they are tangible, says Maureen Pickell, manager of meeting and incentive sales for Northwest Airlines, eastern Region. explicit instructions are printed on the certificates, enabling travel agents to follow the correct procedure, which, Pickell hopes, will ensure that associations receive credit for using the certificates.

None of three airlines contacted-United, Continental, or USAir-is offering similar incentives.

MPI Rocks Music City enveloped by the charm and enthusiasm of the Opryland Hotel staff and the city of Nashville, attendees at the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) World education Conference in July numbered nearly 2,000-including a record 830 meeting planners. Nashville showcased its favorite venues with some of its best homegrown talent: Diamond Rio at the Ryman Auditorium, original home of the Grand Ole Opry; and Martina McBride during the final night "lawn" party in Opryland's two-month-old Delta Ballroom. Both brought audiences to their feet.

Downsizing, doing more with less, and technology still reigned as the popular education topics. MPI is in no danger of losing its place as the world's largest association of meeting planners, welcoming 4,300 new members in 1996 for a total of 14,237 members in 45 countries.

Association Meetings Coming Up * International Association for exposition Management's 1996 Annual Meeting and eXPO!eXPO!, December 3 to 6, Los Angeles Convention Center; Post-Convention Meeting, December 6 to 8, Maui, HI; (214) 458-8002

* American Society of Association executives' Management and Technology Conferences, December 8 to 11, Sheraton Washington, Washington, DC; (202) 626-ASAe

* Professional Convention Management Association's 41st Annual Meeting, January 8 to 11, Marriott Riverwalk, San Antonio, TX; (205) 978-4908

* Meeting Professionals International's educational Conference, January 12 to 14, 1997, Hilton Hotel & Towers, San Francisco, CA; (214) 702-3000

* Religious Conference Management Association's 25th Annual Conference and exposition, January 28 to 31, 1997, Tulsa Convention Center, Tulsa, OK; (317) 632-1888