Negative publicity has been churning in the media around the meetings and incentives industry because of the perception that events organized by companies receiving emergency relief money from the federal government were inappropriate. In reaction, a new electronic petition has been launched to draw attention to the importance of meetings in the U.S. economy and to give people a way to show their support for the industry.

The electronic petition, Keep America Meeting, is now live at http://keepamericameeting.com, allowing signers to “help send a message to our legislators nationwide that we need them to take the proactive step of publicly supporting the meetings and events industry in order to hasten the U.S. recovery.”

Keep America Meeting was created by TBA Global, a meeting and event marketing company, in partnership with the U.S. Travel Association and with support from the Event Marketing Institute. It is endorsed by a nonpartisan group of associations, publishers, and companies, including the MeetingsNet magazines.

Organizers plan to deliver the petition to the White House, Congress, and the leadership of the Fortune 200 companies, with a clear message of support for meetings. The petition says: “Corporate meetings enhance employee and partner performance, fuel company growth and profitability, support the needs of local communities, and aid the American economy as a whole.”

It continues, “We the undersigned believe meetings build businesses and are an important part of our nation's recovery. Meetings that are well executed and designed to meet specific company goals greatly contribute to company profits.”

Before its official launch, the petition had already gathered almost 1,000 signatures, many with thoughtful commentary about the value of meetings, events, and incentives as a business tool and as a critical element of our economy. The goal is one million signatures.

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