Signs of economic improvement in the meetings and conventions industry continue to emerge, with the latest being year-end data on the health of the exhibitions industry. The Center for Exhibition Industry Research, which measures year-over-year changes in four key exhibition industry metrics—net square feet, revenue, professional attendance, and number of exhibiting companies—has found an overall increase of 4.1 percent in 2010’s numbers over 2009. Preliminary data for the 2011 CEIR Index report, which will be available in full in April, shows fourth quarter 2010 increases in all metrics over 2009, with the size of the show floor showing the most significant growth:

  • Net square feet: up 5.6 percent,
  • Professional attendance: up 5.4 percent
  • Projected revenue: up 4.2 percent
  • Exhibitors: up 2.1 percent
While the data is encouraging, CEIR says early 2011 will be a critical period for the industry’s recovery. “The positive number trend that began in the third quarter 2010 continued into the fourth quarter, which is a positive indication of recovery from the Great Recession,” according to a release from CEIR. “However, the true test will be results from the first quarter in 2011.”