The meeting industry has bounced back from the economic slump faster than expected. And it will continue to rebound in the months ahead.

That was Jeff Thredgold’s message at the New England Meeting Industry Conference & Exposition (NEMICE 2002). Thredgold, an economist and president of Thredgold Economic Associates, Salt Lake City, Utah, was keynote speaker at the annual event, which took place at the Hynes Convention Center, Boston, on Thursday.

The show hosted 276 exhibitors and more than 600 attendees (complete attendance figures had not be completed at presstime). A CMP/CMM breakfast and seminars opened the morning, followed by a luncheon and keynote speaker and the trade show. An After Dark event at the Prudential Skywalk capped off the day.

During his keynote speech, Thredgold addressed myriad topics, but focused mainly on the country’s tight labor conditions, which he said will continue for some time, and technology. Thought technology is growing more advanced and amazing each day, Thredgold said, it will never replace face to face meetings. Interpersonal networking is the key to business, and meetings are the best place to nurture those connections.

Seminars included a discussion on liability issues. John S. Foster, CHME, Esq., spoke during the seminar about how meeting planners need to be risk managers, assessing an event for any possible liability. Topics included waivers, third parties, and safety checklists. Meetings planners, Foster said, cannot contract away their own negligence. "It’s easier and less expensive to stay out of trouble," Foster told seminar guests.