10 March 2020
Letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Leaders Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, and Charles Schumer
The American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) is a 501(c)(3) individual membership association headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, with more than 21,000 members and certified professionals globally. ASNT exists to create a safer world by advancing scientific, engineering, and technical knowledge in the field of nondestructive testing. Our members work in the oil and gas, aerospace and defense, manufacturing, infrastructure construction and maintenance, amusement parks, and other industries which drive the economic health of our country.
I write regarding prospective federal intervention to support the airline, travel and other targeted industries impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic. ASNT urges you to also include associations, nonprofits and other tax-exempt organizations within any federal aid packages or supplemental appropriations measures, as many have been and will be harmed by event cancellations and reduced meeting attendance as a result of COVID-19. ASNT recently cancelled its Research Symposium 2020, resulting in direct financial loss of more than $250,000 to the association. Other ASNT events scheduled across the U.S. over the next several months remain at risk of exponentially greater loss.
According to the Events Industry Council’s 2018 Economic Significant Study conducted by Oxford Economics, more than 1.9 million meetings occur in the United States each year – with more than 250 million attendees. These meetings contribute more than $446 billion to U.S. gross domestic product and directly support 5.9 million jobs nationwide.
As you are no doubt aware, the fast-spreading COVID-19 epidemic has prompted the cancellation of dozens of major meetings and events in the U.S. and forced other event sponsors to consider cancelling or postponing innumerable other events dependent on in-person attendance at convention centers, hotels and other event facilities. Many of these meetings and events also attract international participants, who generate 11.5 percent (about $38 billion) of direct spending during their visits to the U.S. International travel to the U.S. has dropped sharply during the COVID-19 outbreak and signs point to this trend growing until the virus is brought under control. The U.S. Travel Association forecasts international flights to the U.S. will plummet six percent over the next three months alone, which would be the largest decline since the 2008 economic crisis.
Additionally, many associations operate similarly to small businesses and are greatly impacted if employees are forced to take sick leave or are quarantined as a result of COVID-19 interaction. We are aware the Trump Administration and Congress are considering measures for small businesses that may require cash flow assistance amid the outbreak, and urge that tax-exempt entities be included in any temporary aid designed to stem the economic fallout resulting from COVID-19.
Thank you for your consideration.
Neal J. Couture, CAE
 Events Industry Council. Economic Significance of Meetings to the US Economy. February 2018. https://dev-meetingsmeanbusiness.pantheonsite.io/sites/default/files/Economic%20Significance%20of%20Meetings%20to%20the%20US%20Economy.pdf
For a PDF of the letter, CLICK HERE to download
Dana Sims, Public Relations Manager
+1 614 384 2444