CWT M&E, the meetings and events division of CWT, says the $840 billion meetings industry is poised for 8 percent growth in 2020 despite looming geopolitical and economic headwinds, according to the company’s 2020 Future Trends Report. The report notes the protracted trade war between the US and China is creating general uncertainty in the global business community. Adding to the anxiety is the future of Brexit and its cascading impact on the European Union. In Asia, the protests in Hong Kong are bound to impact demand across the region. And growing concern over the impact of climate change is also increasingly clouding business sentiment. Still, there are reasons to be upbeat, said Kurt Ekert, CEO of CWT. He said the need for live events is becoming more relevant than ever, with up to 30 percent of marketing budgets expected to be spent on them next year. Face-to-face meetings are especially critical during times of uncertainty, he said. The report also identifies other trends, including digitalization, with event websites up 52 percent year-over-year and event apps up 83 percent in the last two years; and changing demographics, with millennials becoming the largest group of business travelers globally starting in 2024.