When is the Phoenix Convention Business recovering from COVID-19?

Christina Estes / KJZZ

The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Convention, dubbed the “largest Hispanic STEM convention in the country,” was held in Phoenix in 2019.

Since the beginning of March 2020, Phoenix has lost 79 conventions due to cancellations and postponements. The cancellations represent more than 256,000 attendees, 326,000 hotel room nights and more than $ 235 million in direct visitor spend.

Phoenix has rebooked nearly 30 of its canceled conventions. In addition, Jerry Harper, associate director of Phoenix Convention and Venues, told the city’s subcommittee on economic development that the sales team had an exceptionally productive year.

“They were able to book a record of 72 city-wide conventions with over 311,000 delegates or congress attendees for future business, which was a record for fiscal year activity,” he said.

Harper said the pandemic recovery should be faster than the Great Recession.

“The reason people couldn’t come here during the Great Recession was much of it purely financial. Right now it’s really about the trust and security people feel when they travel. ”

empty chairs in the room

Christina Estes / KJZZ

A conference room in the south building of the Phoenix Convention Center.

Meeting planners are still very interested in Phoenix, said Harper, while Lorne Edwards, senior vice president of sales at Visit Phoenix, expects more hybrid events to take place in the final half of 2021.

“I would rely more on the positive, optimistic side that we’re about to see – especially given the widespread vaccination rate, I think this will instill a lot more trust in the traveling public as well as the meeting planners community. Come back to Live events, ”said Edwards.

Last year, the Phoenix Convention Center became the first Arizona venue to receive Global Biorisk Advisory Council accreditation for best practices in preparing for and responding to infectious diseases and biological hazards.

The centre’s reopening plan focuses on five strategies that will be applied across all business areas.

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