402 conventions and meetings cancelled from October 08 to mid-March 09

The troubled economic times which the US is currently battling through were again showcased in a USA Today article last week, which reported that between October 2008 and mid-March 2009 some 402 conventions and meetings scheduled for Las Vegas had been cancelled.

The gambling mecca has been among those hardest hit by companies either cutting back on expenditure on conferences or canning corporate jollys as precautionary PR moves.

The newspaper quoted statistics from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which revealed that the 402 cancellations cost the Las Vegas area's economy $166 million - and that did not include lost gambling revenue! In Las Vegas, convention attendance totaled 583 168 people in February 09, down a worrying 35 percent from February 2008.

The Authority is working hard to provide its hotel partners, clients and the business community with the tools and incentives to "offer balance'' to the discussion of meetings and business travel, USA Today reported.

"We have to ensure that the value and importance of the meetings and convention industry is made clear," Rossi Ralenkotter, LVCVA president and CEO, said in a statement to the newspaper. "It is essential that we work hard to continue to promote business travel to Las Vegas."

The LVCVA has launched a comprehensive, online toolkit to provide information and resources for clients and hotel partners to stay abreast of developments in the meetings industry. Clients can access statistics, client testimonials and other information showing the reasons events are successful in Las Vegas. Hotel partners were provided tools to promote group travel to the destination, as well as updates on developments in business and Congress on the industry.

For a sense of persepctive, it should be noted that Las Vegas annually hosts some 22 000 meetings and conventions, which provide 46 000 jobs and $8.5 billion in economic activity, the LVCVA said.

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