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Convention Center finds bright spot despite business downturn
Thursday, August 27, 2009 by Kimberly Reeves
If bad can be good, then the city’s convention business is probably as good as can be expected during an economic downturn that has hit the city and the nation.
Council heard budget presentations on Wednesday morning from the Convention Center and the Austin Visitors and Convention Bureau, which have interlocking purposes. The bottom line of the message appeared to be that the tourism and convention picture in the city could be much worse than the upcoming year’s revenues, although no one was particularly thrilled with the downturn.
For instance, city hotel occupancy tax is down only 7 percent this year. It’s a $3 million dollar loss in revenue. But it’s not so bad that the Convention Center and Visitors Bureau could not function.
In fact, AVCB President Bob Lander made a pitch to re-start the convention hotel at
One reason why current revenue for the convention center is somewhat steady is because about half of the revenue comes from
In fact, the prediction is that prior work will allow
That doesn’t mean everything is rosy. As Landers explained, 100 percent of the 15 markets comparable to
A number of points came up during the discussion:
· While it wasn’t fully vetted, Council Member Randi Shade noted the difference in revenue models for convention centers, which convention center administrator Mark Tester acknowledged.
· Mayor Pro Tem Mike
· Capital projects are still underway to improve the facility. In fact, the two sections of the Convention Center might soon be connected. A $2 million walkway could connect the third-floor facilities of one portion of the convention center to the fourth-floor facilities of the extension, ending confusion for many convention attendees.
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