The following letter from John McCarthy, IHRSA's executive director,is your invitation to attend the upcoming trade show.

Each March IHRSA hosts an industry event, our annual convention and trade show, known this year as "IHRSA 2000." Each year, we try harder to make the show more inclusive of, and valuable for, the entire industry. How do we justify proclaiming our event an industry one, and more importantly, why is this our mission?

1. The whole industry is invited. Every facility we have on record, member or not, is not only welcome at our show: We invite them to come--and not just to the trade show. Our two new conferences this year, for the fitness business and the spa business, are open to anyone.

2. We facilitate our 350 exhibiting suppliers, inviting anyone they do business with, by providing them with as many customized free passes to the trade show as they want. Their participation has helped the show grow from 3,000 attendees 10 years ago to 10,000 last year. Size alone, however, does not make an event into an industry event in the fullest sense. The value to attendees and the importance to the future of the industry must be there.

3. The value to attendees this year will be enhanced by the presence of more outside-the-industry speakers (over 50) than ever, including General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.), who will keynote the opening day.

4. More NEW speakers than ever (over 60) will further increase the value each attendee receives from returning to this year's show. 5 The future of the industry will be envisioned at the industry summit on technology, where 300 leaders will hear a keynote address by Chuck Martin, author of the The Net Future: The Seven Dynamics That Will Change Everything.

6. Further future forecasting will be summarized by Yankelovich Partners, whose 20-plus years of societal trending will be tied in to our industry's best growth opportunities.

7. More than 35 presentations will help clubs develop one or more of the mega-opportunities for growth identified by IHRSA in the "One Hundred Million Member" campaign. This initiative, to double the number of club members world-wide by 2010, is IHRSA's super objective. It will not happen as it should without the entire industry coming together.

Greater than all the reasons above put together, there is the perennial one: networking. Forging new connections and strengthening existing ones--with peers, suppliers and partners--has perhaps never been more important than now, when our industry is undergoing profound changes and faces the greatest opportunities, and the most competition, in its short history. Don't miss this year's industry event--there may never be another event like IHRSA 2000.