When a group of meeting professionals in Edmonton, Canada, came up with the idea to have a day devoted to the profession, little did they know their gathering would be the genesis of what is now known as Global Meetings Industry Day.

Meeting professionals will gather Thursday for GMID 2022, an international day of advocacy designed to spotlight the importance and economic impact of business meetings, trade shows, incentive travel, exhibitions, conferences and conventions, along with the power of face-to-face meetings.

The event has come a long way from the mid-1990s when members of Meeting Professionals International’s Greater Edmonton Chapter launched Meeting Planners Day. The association’s Canadian Council, which represented all the chapters in Canada, learned of the event and decided to expand in the late 1990s by creating National Meetings Industry Day across Canada.

Then in 2015, industry leaders united with Meetings Mean Business, the coalition focused on raising awareness on the value of face-to-face meetings, and the Events Industry Council to grow the event to include the United States and Mexico, introducing North American Meetings Industry Day.

One year later, Global Meetings Industry Day was launched and has evolved into a day of education, advocacy and celebration on the importance of the business meeting and event industry. Last year, GMID garnered 10.2 million social media impressions from events held around the globe, according to Meetings Mean Business. The largest event was MPI’s 12-hour GMID broadcast in 2021, a platform for tens of thousands of global industry professionals to gather and generate exposure and awareness for the industry, attracting registrations from more than 30 countries with attendees spending an average of more than five hours engaged on the broadcast. MPI is hosting the free 12-hour digital broadcast again this Thursday.

And it all started with MPI’s Edmonton Chapter nearly 30 years ago.

Key Industry Issues on GMID

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“This community is incredibly passionate about the business events industry,” said Paul Van Deventer, President and CEO of MPI. “It should come as no surprise that GMID originated and became a 20-plus year tradition from MPI Canadian Chapters. Their efforts put a key emphasis on MPI’s mission to advocate for this industry, while also bringing forward our organizational focus on innovation, education and connections, both inside and more importantly outside our industry.”

Industry leaders including Van Deventer and Michael Dominguez, President and CEO of ALHI, who at the time had served as chair of MPI’s International Board of Directors, met and determined that the Canadian event should be expanded.

“After attending my first NMID in Ottawa in 2013, it was evident that our Canadian chapters had developed a concept our global colleagues could benefit from,” Van Deventer said. “Prior to the pandemic, the business events industry created direct economic impact in excess of $1 trillion, but it was the best kept secret worldwide, until our Canadian colleagues found an impactful way to tell that story.”

After the event was expanded to NAMID in 2015 to enable MPI’s North American chapters to participate, Van Deventer said it quickly became apparent that NAMID was bigger than just MPI and “to reach its full potential the entire industry should be involved, as it presented an opportunity to create a unified global industry voice.”

Dominguez noted that after seeing the level of interest, engagement and participation in Canada from legislative leaders and academic leadership, it was clear there was tremendous potential for the broader industry.

“MPI’s participation with the Meetings Mean Business Coalition allowed for the opportunity to align the initiative on a global scale with U.S. Travel,” Dominguez said, referring to the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry. “It really was a pure example of MPI’s mission in action of looking at the greater good of the industry.”

The timing also came just after MPI released a powerful video on the impact that face-to-face meetings have had, aligning with MPI’s tag line, “When We Meet, We Change the World.” From the signing of the Magna Carta to the First Continental Congress, the Civil Rights movement and more, the impact of meetings and events around the global has changed, and continues to change, the course of history. While MPI’s branding has evolved, the message in the video remains profoundly relevant especially as the industry is moving past the devastating economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The return of professional meetings and events and business travel in general is essential for an even recovery of the U.S. travel economy,” said Roger Dow, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “After two years of pandemic-related uncertainty, many businesses and organizations are returning to professional travel in the coming year, which will bring people together and also help power economic and jobs recovery at the local level.”

Dominguez added that as group business is returning, “the work around GMID is starting to pay large dividends. The need for meetings and events to achieve overall goals and objectives of organizations is becoming more of a necessity in thought process.  At least some of that progress should be credited to GMID and the work of our community.”

MPI’s GMID 12-hour digital broadcast begins at 6 a.m. CT on Thursday, April 7. Registration is free. Learn more at Event Registration.