Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance applauds Kentucky space rental tax revision

The Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA) has welcomed the Kentucky General Assembly and governor Andy Beshear decision to revise the commonwealth’s sales tax on space rental for face-to-face business events.

The ECA said that, by exempting business event organisers from charging sales tax to their exhibitors, Kentucky will remain competitive going forward as a leading destination for conferences, and trade shows. The lobby group added that, with business events delivering nearly $750m in economic impact to the commonwealth annually, this important policy change will ensure that the sector will continue drive demand for restaurants, hotels, travel services, and Main Street commerce across Kentucky.

“In Kentucky and nationwide, face-to-face business events are vital to driving economic growth, supporting job creation, and empowering small businesses,” said Tommy Goodwin, ECA’s vice-president of government affairs. “This important policy change, alongside Kentucky’s legendary hospitality, will ensure that the commonwealth is well positioned to benefit from attracting and hosting exhibitions, conferences, and trade shows for many years to come.”

ECA gave recognition to two organisations for their on-the-ground leadership on this issue: the Kentucky Travel Industry Association (KTIA) and Louisville Tourism.

“This has been a classic example of two aspects of legislation,” said Hank Phillips, president & CEO of KTIA. “One is that unintended consequences are virtually inevitable, which is what gave rise to the exhibitor issue in the first place. The other, and more important aspect, is what can be achieved when a team comes together to work toward a solution. Along with KTIA, Kentucky destination marketing organisations, many of their meetings and conference partners, and ECA from the national level, together formed an extremely effective team. In addition to our deep appreciation to our team members we also want to express our gratitude to governor Beshear and to the General Assembly for their support on this issue.”

“This revision makes good business sense and is a win for Kentuckians, the tourism economy of Kentucky and the groups we do business with,” said Cleo Battle, president & CEO of Louisville Tourism. “It helps Louisville and our fellow Kentucky cities compete for lucrative convention business that helps our hospitality industry employ 60,000 citizens of Louisville alone.”

In the months ahead, ECA said it would continue to support the advancement of the industry by working to ensure a resilient and favourable operating environment, the full return of international exhibitors and attendees and a more sustainable industry in the future. ECA’s 2023 public policy priorities can be viewed here.

The Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA) is a coalition of ten professional, industry, and labor organisations dedicated to the advancement of the face-to-face business events industry. To learn more about ECA and its efforts, please visit www.exhibitionsconferencesalliance.org.