Report: Trade shows forgoing San Diego Convention Center due to - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Report: Trade shows forgoing San Diego Convention Center due to high costs

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Fourteen organizers of major future trade shows are bypassing San Diego because of high costs while two others expressed concern about the timeline of the planned expansion of the San Diego Convention Center, according to a report to be presented to a City Council committee Wednesday morning.

The San Diego Convention Center Corp. report, which will be delivered to the Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee, is designed to give council members a look at progress of trade show sales efforts through February, a little more than halfway through the fiscal year.

According to the report, the New York Life Insurance Company chose Dallas for its August 2015 convention because San Diego was perceived as too expensive. The firm would have brought around 3,800 attendees. AVID Center, which plans a July 2015 event with 3,000 people, said its attendees can't afford downtown hotel rates, the report says.

The American Traffic Safety Services Association, with 2,000 people slated to attend a January 2017 conference, also cited high hotel costs. It bypassed San Diego in favor of Phoenix.

Similar reasons were cited by groups like the Minerals Research Society, the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and other groups, the report said.

Cisco Systems Inc. was one of the convention groups expressing concerns about whether the expansion would be completed in time for its show. The tech company, which is expected to bring 17,000 attendees to its national meetings, wanted construction scheduling confirmation before a conference in 2022, according to the report.

The start of construction has been held up by lawsuits challenging the way the expansion is being funded.

The presentation says that sales are 42 percent toward the annual goal of 860,000 hotel room nights, which is a strong figure considering that most convention bookings are made late in the fiscal year.

Last year, they were at 46 percent of the goal in April, but bookings in May and June put them at 96 percent for the fiscal year as a whole.

The City Council a couple of years ago changed the way bookings are made. The major trade shows, which make arrangements several years in advance, are handled by the San Diego Tourism Authority. Smaller meetings that book within 18 months go through the convention center's sales staff.

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