Weekly News & Insights: Expanding Horizons

Photo: FreeImages.com/kovik
Photo: FreeImages.com/kovik

This week, history was made in Washington, D.C. with the first-ever “Exhibitions Day,” where more than 100 trade show professionals gathered to advance the exhibit industry. Led by the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) and six other industry organizations, participants held more than 100 meetings with various members of Congress to discuss topics ranging from visas and travel to allowing government employees to attend events. To hear reactions from some of those who attended, check out this article by TSNN.

If you asked most any show manager about their favorite place to hold a trade show, it would probably come as no great surprise that many would say “Vegas.” And that’s the outcome of Expo‘s Top Cities Survey, conducted earlier this year. But what might surprise you are some of the other cities that made the list, including Phoenix (#2) and Anaheim (tied for #6). Criteria included ease of access, venue size and the “coolness” factor. (For more complete survey results, see the Expo article.)

Perhaps that elusive “coolness” factor is the driving force behind a proposed expansion of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Instead of building more exhibit space, the plan includes hotel and entertainment district on a 47-acre vacant space. The center would invest $150 million, with a much larger percentage coming from private developers. It seems the key to cities landing conventions and trade shows is no longer about the space itself (there are a lot of adequately-sized convention centers out there), but more about the unique brand of the city and what it offers.

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