The Events Industry Council: the global voice of the business events industry

Many of those who work in the convention and meeting industry have heard of the Events Industry Council (EIC), but what is it actually? Presenting the EIC and its mission was one of the organisation’s directors, Didier Scaillet. The presentation was given on 3 November at the European Convention Center Luxembourg as part of the 59th ICCA Congress 2020, for which Luxembourg served as regional co-host.

The EIC: a large organisation representing an important sector

The first thing to note about the EIC, said Mr Scaillet, is that it is a very large umbrella organisation, the ‘who’s who’ of the events industry, gathering 32 associations, 20,000 businesses, and 103,000 members from around the world. Member associations include the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), the International Live Events Association (ILEA), Destinations International, and many others.

Mr Scaillet also emphasised the significant role that events play in the global economy. Referring to the 2018 report ‘Global Economic Significance of Business Events’, he says that worldwide, the events sector generates 26 million jobs. The sector adds $1.5 trillion to the global GDP, putting it above other more prominent industries like the automotive sector.

A global mission with four pillars

Mr Scaillet describes the EIC as the global voice of the business events industry, and its philosophy is ‘enriching lives and driving economic growth through the power of events worldwide’. This mission is carried out through four main practices: advocacy, research, professional recognition, and the setting of standards, he says.

Certification programmes

One of the biggest influences the EIC has is its certification programme, which is the largest in the events industry. The two main certificates are Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and CMP-HC, which is specific to the healthcare industry. As part of the training programme, and to give the industry a common set of terminology and references, the EIC creates a glossary and a manual that are validated by a board of professionals and are frequently updated – vital in a field that is constantly evolving.

Promoting sustainability and positive social impact

The EIC has launched specific initiatives, some of which truly impact the entire industry. One of these is the Centre for Sustainability & Social Impact, which develops sustainable event standards, sustainable event professional certification, webinars, principles for sustainability, a state of sustainability survey, and infographics. Leadership at the EIC hope this centre will become the primary repository to which everyone in the industry contributes.

Support and resources during the Covid crisis

Another initiative which is very important at the moment is the APEX COVID-19 Business Recovery Task Force. This task force draws its members from all over the world and from all major sectors such as venues, hotels, corporate buyers, and association buyers. One of the main tasks is to curate the vast body of Covid-releated content and resources and from that identify the best and most relevant. The task force also looks at sub-sectors further down the supply chain that are nevertheless important to the events industry, such as transportation to and from airports. The APEX COVID-19 Business Recovery Task Force has produced an array of useful resources, from accepted practices for specific sectors, to on-demand webinars about topics related to Covid-19, wellness, and the workforce, plus many more.

Mr Scaillet expressed optimism that the industry will survive and thrive even if it has been fundamentally altered. ‘It’s important that this industry comes out stronger and comes out more united, and demonstrates that it's united in terms of how it’s going to tackle the Covid-19 environment.’

Key points

  • The EIC gives a unified voice to the events industry, a sector that plays an important role in the global economy.
  • The mission of the EIC rests on four pillars: advocacy, research, professional recognition, and the setting of standards.
  • One important EIC initiative is the Centre for Sustainability & Social Impact, two topics which over the past few years have become pressing issues for the industry. 
  • The EIC has also created an APEX COVID-19 Business Recovery Task Force, which is composed of members from various sectors in the events industry from around the world, and it provides useful support and resources.