TRADE SHOW PROFESSIONALS are optimistic that an industry recovery is just around the corner, according to a survey just released by the Trade Show Exhibitors Association.

The TSEA Exhibit Management Survey, conducted in partnership with Tradeshow Week Custom Research, found that 35 percent of TSEA members report attendance at “key exhibitions” is back to year-2000 levels, while another 23 percent expect an attendance recovery between now and the end of June 2005. Five percent say the industry will never return to 2000 levels, and 29 percent don't know.

In addition, 81 percent of those surveyed are confident that their trade shows' return on investment increased in 2004 versus 2003. Sixty-nine percent are moderately confident, while 12 percent are highly confident.

The study also reveals that the average 2004 event and exhibition budget is $1,335,220, with exhibit space being the largest line item, accounting for 33 percent of the 2004 expenditures. Seventy-four percent of those polled say their exhibit programs are integrated with their organization's advertising and/or strategic marketing message.

The average TSEA member has 11 years' exhibition and event experience and manages 34 events per year.