by Sarah J.F. Braley | September 05, 2017
As southern Texas continues to recover from Hurricane Harvey, Visit Houston, the city's convention and visitors bureau, and the George R. Brown Convention Center are looking forward to when the city can get back to business as usual.
The center, which accommodated more than 10,000 evacuees at the height of the flooding, now is housing fewer than 1,600 people, according to the Associated Press. Visit Houston has said the center's goal is to reopen to groups with the Texas Society of Association Executives' New Ideas Annual Conference, Sept. 17-19.
According to the CVB, the convention center and its surrounding campus, Avenida Houston, is fully functional and sustained minimal damage. The GRB continues to serve as an emergency shelter. The city is working with local and national agencies to find transitional housing for those sheltered in the center and the nearby NRG Center, which still was housing about 2,800 people as of Sept. 4. 
The CVB has contacted all groups planning to use the GRB through this fall. According to a statement from Visit Houston, "At this time, five groups planning to use the GRB through Sept 14 have been rescheduled for later dates in 2017, and all others are currently on schedule as planned." The Avenida Houston restaurants that are connected to the center are expected to reopen this week.
"We are grateful for the outpouring of support from the meetings and hospitality industry," said John Solis, senior vice president of sales for the CVB. "We have had no groups cancel their meetings for 2017, and we are confident we will meet, and in true Houston fashion, exceed their expectations." 
The CVB's statement also noted that surrounding hotels in downtown Houston sustained minimal damage and are fully operational, and that Hotel Lodging Association of Greater Houston said roughly 95 percent of hotels in and around the Greater Houston area are open for business. Two that are not are the Omni Houston Hotel, which is closed until further notice, and the Omni Houston Hotel at Westside, which is expected to reopen at the end of the month. 
"I am so proud of the Greater Houston community, the selfless desire to help each other is truly inspirational. Clearly hospitality is in our DNA," said Mike Waterman, president of Visit Houston, in the statement.