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 October 05, 2004
Convention Business Increases At The VCEC In Vancouver

 Convention revenues at the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre increased by over 50% in the first half of this year as compared with the same period in 2003 according to figures just released by the Centre. The increase was driven by a significant jump in attendance of events at the VCEC, from 224,254 delegate days in the first half of 2003 to 296,643 in 2004, an increase of more than 32% year over year.

"We've noticed for some time that recovery in overall visitor activity tends to be led by the convention area, and these figures show that such a recovery was well underway from the end of 2003," said VCEC General Manager Barbara Maple. "The effect is that conventions and similar events at the Centre have not only played a big part in sustaining hotel occupancies and supporting other visitor services during periods when other forms of tourism are down, but have also helped lead the recovery of this sector."

Maple noted that very few events actually canceled at the VCEC in the period following 9/11 and subsequent global economic and transportation turmoil, but attendance at these events, particularly by non-resident delegates, did suffer. "Conventions still took place, but many delegates were reluctant to travel or were restricted by economic issues, so numbers were down. Now, we're seeing a real rebound as delegates become more comfortable with travel; in fact, our biggest increase has been in the area of non-resident delegates, which has increased over 130% in the past year."

The result of all this activity is that the VCEC is again reaching operating capacity, and unable to accommodate many of the conventions that wish to come to the city. "We're continuing to turn away significant amounts of convention business as we await the completion of our major facility expansion, which is scheduled for completion in 2008," said Maple. "In the meantime, were doing everything we can to accommodate as many events as possible, and encourage our clients to look to the VCEC post-2008 when well have sufficient space to meet their needs."

Construction on the VCEC expansion is scheduled to begin this fall, and marketing for the expanded facility is already well underway. Subsequent to the opening of the expansion in 2008, the Centre will serve as a combined media and broadcast centre for the 2010 Olympics.