Editor's note (December 2, 2011 @ 10:30 a.m. CT): Here at Midwest Meetings, we don't necessarily feel we should need to defend the conference costs incurred by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the recent Mortgage Bankers Association's annual meeting in Chicago. After all, the costs breakdown in the Federal Housing Finance Agency's response appears to contain justifiable line items. It looks pretty self-explanatory to us.
But alas, there's the rub: it makes sense to those who know what they're looking at.
Lawmakers, mainstream media, and the general public, on the other hand, don't have that meetings industry "insider" perspective. And $640,000 does sound like an awfully big number if one doesn't understand how to put it into perspective. So how do we, as an industry, get the message across?
Scroll down for updates as Midwest Meetings continues to gain commentary and insight regarding the latest black eye to the meetings industry from the mainstream media.
Jonathan Tisch, Loews Hotels
Jonathan Tisch, co-chair of the board, Loews Corporation and chairman and CEO, Loews Hotels, served as a witness before the Competitiveness, Innovation, and Export Promotion Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. The hearing, “Tourism in America: Moving Our Economy Forward,” focused on the travel industry’s impact on the U.S. economy.
Subcommittee Chair Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), a long-time champion of the lodging industry, called the hearing to highlight the opportunity for the U.S. to create jobs and bolster the economy by attracting international travelers. Senate Commerce Committee Chair John Rockefeller (D-WV) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Subcommittee Ranking Member, echoed the sentiment and expressed continued support for making international travelers a top priority in order to grow the economy and create U.S. jobs.