By Megan Tanel, AEM Senior Vice President, Exhibitions and Events  

If not THE oldest, it may be one of the oldest businesses in the world. We at AEM not only support this long-standing profession, but we also participate in it. Actually, we own some of it. I'm talking about trade shows.

Trade shows date back thousands of years. As soon as ancient Greeks or Romans or any other ancient civilization participated in trading goods and services, we saw a "trade show" in action. Think about the quaint markets you visit in Europe with stalls set up selling fruit, cheese and flowers. I fondly remember visiting the Folk Fair as a child where people representing different cultures set up tables and sold trinkets or food representing their country of origin. Now fast forward a few (or quite a few years) and picture the Auto show, the Consumer Electronics Show or our very own CONEXPO-CON/AGG. The scale may have changed, but the basic premise has not: connecting buyers and sellers to participate in commerce or the exchange of goods and services.

So often we don't realize how much trade shows are a part of our everyday lives. Businesses may question their value and their purpose, yet trade shows continue to fill the most basic need for selling a product to an existing or, better yet, new customer.

But the reach is much broader than just those attending or exhibiting within trade shows. They also support jobs throughout the hosting city and they pump money into our local, state and national economies.

Last year, trade shows alone accounted for at least $77 billion dollars into our U.S. economy. Can you imagine what the number would be from a global perspective! Our AEM shows alone support thousands of jobs and pump millions of dollars into our economy. 

It's important that we realize the broader scope of trade shows and understand their importance to not only our desire to sell product, but also our country's growing economy.

Please join AEM in supporting Global Exhibitions Day on June 8. Even tweeting your support with words or posting a picture of your favorite show with #exhibitionsmeanbusiness or #exhibitionsday helps to send the message about the importance of this time honored profession, and the value it brings to our country through job creation and economic support.  Click here for more detail on how to promote Exhibitions Day 2016.