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by Kaylee Hultgren | January 13, 2010

At this year’s Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) annual conference, taking place at the Dallas Convention Center from Jan. 10-13, attendance numbers have surpassed those of last year’s conference, which drew 3,134 attendees to New Orleans, according to PCMA’s president and CEO Deborah Sexton. Official attendance numbers will be released next week. Sexton also noted that the organization has retained 78 percent of its membership this past year, despite the economic downturn; additionally, there were more applicants for board membership this year than any other year in the organization’s history, Sexton said. Several initiatives are new to this year’s conference. For example, the first CEO Summit for Convention Center and Convention and Visitor Bureau CEOs was held this past Sunday, attended by 44 CEOs. According to John Folks, PCMA’s 2009 Chairman of the Board, one significant topic discussed at the forum was the association’s current organization of membership, specifically whether suppliers should be allowed to occupy officer positions on PCMA’s board. Also launched at the event was PCMA’s third Convention Center Auction, featuring Chicago’s McCormick Place. The auction allows meeting planners to bid on a convention space package at discounted prices, starting at $150,000. For more information, visit pcma.org/conventioncenterauction.