Nashville attracts more convention business - WKRN News 2

Nashville attracts more convention business

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NASHVILLE, Tenn.- High profile cities are losing out on large conventions and meetings because it's just not politically correct during this economic climate to jet off to Miami or Las Vegas, but those cities' losses may be Nashville's gain.  

Thirty-thousand convention goers will have come to Nashville, spent money and stayed in our hotels by the end of October.

While the number is lower than last year, the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, says it's still good news.

Butch Spyridon of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau said, "We have actually outperformed the majority of top 25 markets."

Times are tough and fewer people are traveling to conventions, but even fewer people are traveling to conventions in places considered convention hotspots.

Spyridon said, "We think it's going to take awhile longer for cities like Vegas and Phoenix and Miami to recover because there's a stay away tarp AIG effect."

Large companies that have had to layoff workers or seek government bailouts don't look good frolicking in certain cities. 

So, when they look to plan meetings in the future, places in Middle America seem safe. 

"It can be a benefit for us. We've thought all along we're a great geographic location. We're a great brand. We have a great reputation," Spyridon said. "They can still have fun, and they don't get criticized for it."

While this is good news, according to Butch Spyridon, Nashville can only reap so much of the AIG effect benefits because of space.

He said, "We're still, with our downtown center, competing for about 20% of the national market. We believe we can take it to about 70% and drive sales tax, create jobs."

That is, with a new convention center and hotel in the works, Spyridon says the AIG effect will last awhile, and Nashville stands to win if the city plans for the future. 

"We're selling 2016, 2020. We're doing a bid for the world cup. They're looking at 2018 or 2022. They need our new convention center in order to consider Nashville," he said.

Read more about the new convention center project at NashvilleMusicCityCenter.com.

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