The new number is: $263 billion.

That’s the direct spending from the 1.8 million meetings that took place in the United States in 2009. The big result comes from a much-anticipated study commissioned by the Convention Industry Council last year and conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers. CIC’s intent for the study is to provide “common data and language that all stakeholders can use to articulate the economic power that meetings represent and the value of face-to-face events, a basis for ongoing benchmarking and analyses, a way to influence government agencies to better track meetings activity at the national level, and a way to extend the United Nations World Tourism Organization efforts to track meeting and event activity, thereby influencing major global organizations to understand the hard and soft value of the global face-to-face events sectors.”

FICP is a member of the CIC, and Executive Director Steve Bova currently serves on the CIC board of directors. “FICP supported the Economic Significance Study because we are a part of the overall meetings, events, and incentives industry, and it is important that all of the associations that are affected by our industry play their part,” Bova says. “While FICP is not an advocacy association, we saw an opportunity to represent our niche and its interests.”

And while the report did not break out insurance and financial services numbers specifically, Bova says, “the numbers will provide an indication of where our industry would fit compared to the industry as a whole. FICP intends to do a follow-up study specific to the financial and insurance sector in order to benchmark our niche’s information against the industry averages.”

Here are some of the numbers from the just-released report, which reflects U.S. meeting activity in 2009:
1.8 million: Total meetings
1.3 million: Corporate/business meetings
66,000: Incentive meetings
1.7 million: U.S. jobs directly supported by the meetings industry
107.1 million: Corporate/business meeting attendees
8.1 million: Incentive meeting attendees
250 million: Total room nights
6,060: Survey respondents