Business events industry boosts global GDP with 1.5 trillion dollars and 26 million jobs

In 2017 the Events Industry Council, of which SITE is a member, commissioned a study on the global economic significance of business events, conducted by Oxford Economics. This unprecedented research could only be accomplished through the collaborative efforts of the public and private sectors to qualify the value, influence, and impact that business events produce throughout the world. It further enables this dynamic industry to benchmark its current contributions and track its future growth.

The data in this study provide a clear and credible statistical base on which to gain recognition for this vast and diverse industry as a vital economic driver and clearly articulates the downstream benefits to other industries and the people who work in them. Anyone who reads this report will better understand the economic significance as well as the depth and breadth of the global business events industry.

Direct impacts of global business events (2017)

  • Number of participants: Business events involved more than 1.5 billion participants across more than 180 countries.
  • Direct spending (business sales): Business events generated more than $1.07 trillion of direct spending, representing spending to plan and produce business events, business events-related travel, and other direct spending, such as spending by exhibitors.
  • Direct GDP (gross domestic product) and employment: Business events supported 10.3 million direct jobs globally and generated $621.4 billion of direct GDP.
  • Average spending per participant: On average, $704 was spent per business event participant.
  • Top countries: The top 50 countries accounted for $1.03 trillion of business events direct spending, representing 96% of the global total.
  • Prior country-level studies: Previous country-level analyses of business events activity accounted for almost two-thirds of the estimated global total, providing a solid research foundation.

Total impacts of global business events (2017)

After accounting for indirect and induced impacts, business events supported a total global economic impact in 2017 of:

  • $2.5 trillion of output (business sales)
  • 26 million jobs
  • $1.5 trillion of GDP (representing contribution to global gross domestic product)
  • The business events sector directly generated more output (business sales) than many large global sectors, including consumer electronics and computers and office equipment.

The $1.5 trillion of total GDP supported by global business events would rank the sector as the 14th largest economy globally, larger than the economies of countries such as Australia, Spain, Mexico, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia. Based on its $621.4 billion direct GDP impact, the business events sector would rank as the 22nd largest economy globally.

Download the full report here.

Click here to view an interview with Carina Bauer, CEO IMEX Group and SITE Foundation President-Elect and Karen Kotowski, CEO Events Industry Council to learn more about the findings.

About Events Industry Council

The Events Industry Council’s more than 30 member organisations represent over 103,500 individuals and 19,500 firms and properties involved in the events industry. The Events Industry Council promotes high standards and professionalism in the events industry with the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and four signature programmes – Sustainability, Industry Insights, Knowledge and Leadership—and supports research to educate on the profound economic impact of business events. Learn more at

About Oxford Economics

Oxford Economics is one of the world’s foremost independent global advisory firms, providing reports, forecasts and analytical tools on 200 countries, 100 industrial sectors and over 4,000 locations. Our best-of-class global economic and industry models and analytical tools give us an unparalleled ability to forecast external market trends and assess their economic, social and business impact. For more information, please visit