Suppliers, Organizers Optimistic About Future of Detroit
The Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau (DMCVB), which promotes the Detroit region as a business, meetings and tourism destination, is assuring its clients that meetings in Detroit are safe and thriving despite the city's recent bankruptcy filing. According to its website, the bureau is an independent, nonprofit economic development organization that receives its funding from membership dues and hotel assessments, not the city.
A statement issued by the DMCVB focused on the city's continued investments and developments in the hospitality industry, including the 367-room Crowne Plaza Pontchartrain - Detroit Convention Center hotel, which just opened last week, and the $279 million renovation at the Cobo Convention Center.
"Bankruptcy is a difficult, but clearly an unavoidable step that will pave the way for a viable and sustainable future for the city of Detroit," says Larry Alexander, president and CEO of the DMCVB in the statement. "We are fully supportive of this decision if it will solve the city's financial challenges expeditiously and allow the city to move forward."
The Cobo Convention Center also issued the following statement in the wake of the city of Detroit's bankruptcy filing on Thursday: "The Cobo Convention Center is an independent regional entity funded by its revenue and the state of Michigan. It is not an asset of the city of Detroit and it has never been more financially stable than it is today."
Officials at the National Alliance of Black School Educators, which will be holding their annual conference at the Cobo Center from Nov. 13-17, say their supplier partners have been even more supportive and engaging since the bankruptcy. "What they understand is some tourists might avoid Detroit because of the news, but if we come with the number of attendees we want to come, we might go out to our friends and family and tell them about our experience and they'll tell their friends," says Greg Roberts, executive director of the NABSE. "It could be a positive ripple effect for them."
The conference expects more than 3,000 attendees and 250 exhibitors this year and Roberts sees the bankruptcy as an opportunity for his members to contribute to the community, rather than a cause for concern. "We're going to encourage our attendees to spend as much as we can and we plan on supporting the community by bringing whatever resources we have to make a positive impact," says Roberts, who plans on compiling a list of local restaurants and businesses his attendees can visit during the conference to help the local economy. "We just trying to leave a positive footprint."