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May 01, 2002
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Census on Events Surprises Many

The Chicago-based Center for Exhibition Industry Research released its first Exhibition Industry Census in February, pinpointing cities in North America that host the most exhibitions, defined as events of 3,000 square feet or more with 10 or more exhibitors.

Orlando, Las Vegas and Chicago took three of the top five slots. The survey’s dark horse was San Diego, which came in ninth, ahead of San Francisco and Los Angeles.

“While San Francisco and L.A. are better established, San Diego is a new center with a convenient hotel package that has made it a formidable competitor,” said CEIR’s president/CEO Douglas Ducate.

Another striking result: Only a minority of the events tracked are actually held in convention centers. In top-ranking Orlando, for example, only 27 percent of exhibitions were held in convention centers; 44 percent took place in hotels, close to the national average of 41 percent.

The data is useful to executives like Fred Shea, vice president of sales operations for Chicago-based Hyatt Hotels. “The census was the first time we’ve had clear-cut data on shows as small as 3,000 square feet,” he said. “It was an eye-opener that there’s a lot more business in trade shows.”

Hyatt is using the census to determine how much meeting space to build or add to properties across the country. For instance, Shea said the report has already inspired the chain to add 10,000 square feet of exhibit space to the blueprint for a new Orlando hotel.

• MARTHA COOKE

Top Exhibition Cities

Destinations that hosted the most events in 2000
1. Orlando 625 2. Las Vegas 589 3. Toronto 582 4. Chicago 493 5. New Orleans 447 6. Atlanta 422 7. Dallas 382 8. New York City 346 9. San Diego 331 10. Washington, D.C. 323 11. Nashville 296 12. Denver 265 Source: Center for Exhibition Industry Research Back to NewslineM&C Home Page
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