Were you one of the thousands of people who wrote to your congressman or congresswoman, signed the Keep America Meeting petition, or penned a letter to the editor of your daily newspaper in defense of the meetings industry over the past few months? If so, you have something to show for your efforts. The U.S. Travel Association, the Washington advocacy group that has become the meeting industry's voice in America, predicted as we were going to press that the Treasury Department would not be including restrictive travel and meeting provisions in its guidance for companies receiving Troubled Asset Relief Program funding.

Instead, Geoff Freeman, senior vice president at U.S. Travel, forecast that the guidance would likely put the management of business travel, meetings, and recognition programs back in the hands of each company's board of directors — and also recommend that they adopt the model guidelines written by U.S. Travel and the meetings industry coalition (see page 14).

That's good news, particularly for the financial and insurance meetings industry. But it's too little, too late. So many jobs have been lost — from senior and middle management at companies like yours to banquet wait staff and bellhops in our meeting capitals across the country.

The casualties of the war on meetings are many. And, sadly, we are one of them. After 44 years of publication, this will be the last stand-alone issue for Financial & Insurance Meetings due to the shrinkage in print advertising, and, in particular, in this meetings niche. Fortunately, you will still have a voice — when you can speak. (See “In the Shadows,” page 9.) We will publish FIM — including FICP's newsletter — every other month as a section in our sister magazine Corporate Meetings & Incentives, starting with the July issue. Our brand will still be very much alive on our Web site (meetingsnet.com) and in our monthly e-newsletter, FIM Extra. We look forward to continuing to serve your needs for both information and education.
Betsy Bair, editorial director, bbair@meetingsnet.com