The US government reopened - Do you have a plan for January?

Isn't it odd how quickly we forget what's in the news? The U.S. government shutdown and subsequent lengthy debate over raising the debt ceiling kept sequestration out of the news and out of people's minds. I think our industry even forgot that once reopened, the U.S. government would still restrict holding and participating in meetings!

Just as we reach the weekend for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday (January 20, 2014), we'll again hit a deadline (January 17, 2014) for the budget to be approved. Then don't forget to mark February 7, 2014, on your calendars as when the debt ceiling will be reached. 

Congress is scheduled to be out a whole bunch before these deadlines. So what will the impact of all this be on our industry?

During the shutdown, the industry mavens were outspoken about the amount of money lost for travel and tourism. The amounts were staggering for the national park closures, for the canceled travel and hotel stays for government employees and contractors, and for meetings to be held alone - or in conjunction with associations - that were canceled. (Just look at the Google search results on news from pre-shutdown and during the shutdown.)

Could we face another shutdown? Will the sequestration continue to impact our industry? In what ways?

My crystal ball is cloudy. Others such as the Washington Post and even members of the Congress are speculating. I'm sure we'll hear more about why there may or may not be one as we get closer to January as well.

So now I raise one very important question: How will the industry plan for the next one? 

And what will each of us who work in the industry do in the meantime to plan for our meetings? To understand the impact a shutdown has on our communities? And to take action whether it does or doesn't happen again?

What's your commitment?
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