Although the International Association for Exhibition Management does not track lost business, a number of its members have blamed visa hassles for attendance drops and no-show exhibitors. Some, like George Little Management, have had to revise theirand include refund clauses to cover visa-related travel glitches.
“All of us support extra security measures, but if we are destroying our ability to compete in the world, we're going to need to find more elegant ways to screen international visitors,” says Steven Hacker, IAEM's president. His association and others are lobbying for a fast-track visa program that would streamline the application process for foreigners with a track record of business-related travel. For more information, visit IAEM's Web site at www.iaem.org.
Meanwhile, U.S. meeting planners expecting a lot of overseas attendees can bone up on the new US-VISIT requirements by downloading a brochure from www.dhs.gov/us-visit.