Brookings On Conventional Wisdom

January 28, 2005
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The Brookings Institution, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, recently released an analysis of the nation’s convention business entitled, “Space Available: The Realities of Convention Centers as Economic Development Strategy.”

What follows is a summary of the report’s findings:

  • The overall convention marketplace is declining in a manner that suggests that a recovery or turnaround is unlikely to yield much increased business for any given community, contrary to repeated industry projections.
  • Nonetheless, localities, sometimes with state assistance, have continued a type of arms race with competing cities to host these events, investing massive amounts of capital in new convention center construction and expansion of existing facilities.
  • Faced with increased competition, many cities spend more money on additional convention amenities, like publicly-financed hotels to serve as convention “headquarters.”

The complete report is available at www.brookings.edu.    

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