Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton proclaimed Thursday, April 14, to be Global Meetings Industry Day in his famously sunny city, telling an audience at the Phoenix Convention Center that “meetings mean business in Phoenix.”

Said Stanton: “Meetings mean business at our hotels. They mean business at the airport—America’s Friendliest Airport. They mean business at our restaurants and attractions. And meetings mean business when they bring knowledge-industry leaders and job creators to the front doorstep of our city.”

More than 200 visitors-industry professionals, hospitality workers and meeting planners gathered to hear the mayor’s address and listen to an educational panel that discussed the impact of meetings and conventions on Phoenix’s economy.

Richard Harper, the national co-chair of the Meetings Mean Business Coalition and Executive Vice President of HelmsBriscoe, informed the crowd that “meetings and conventions support more American jobs than the auto industry.”

Driving that point home, Visit Phoenix President and CEO Steve Moore said, “We can all be better ambassadors for this industry. We are not in the ‘tourist’ business. We are in the economic-productivity business. The work we do to bring meetings and conventions into this state touches so many other industries—our airport, insurance companies, the construction industry.”

Moore pointed out that metropolitan Phoenix has “arguably the finest collection of resorts in the country,” and that in 2015 meetings and conferences accounted for nearly half of the occupancy at those resorts and the region’s upper-segment hotels.

“Among the country’s 25 largest hotel markets, there are only three other cities where meetings accounted for more hotel occupancy last year than they did here in Phoenix,” he said.

Phoenix was one of more than 100 destinations on four continents to celebrate the first-annual Global Meetings Industry Day. The Meetings Mean Business Coalition and Convention Industry Council spearheaded the event in North America.

Visit Phoenix co-sponsored Thursday’s event in Phoenix with the Phoenix Convention Center.