Business Confirmations Take a Leap at VCEC



    VANCOUVER, Oct. 24 /CNW/ - An intensive sales effort leading up to the
projected 2009 opening of the expanded Vancouver Convention & Exhibition
Centre has delivered dramatic results in the past six months, with a 43%
increase in the total number of confirmed events for the post-expansion
period. At the same time, there has been a 35% increase in the number of
confirmed expansion events, which are defined as events that can only be
accommodated in the expanded centre and could not have been booked in the
existing facility.
    "This kind of increase in confirmed bookings in a single quarter
demonstrates clearly the kind of demand that exists for our expanded product",
says David Podmore, Chairman of PavCo, the parent company of the VCEC. "Our
calculations, based on projected delegate spending, indicate that these events
will collectively generate some $1.6 billion in economic output, which is a
49% increase over that associated with the business we had on the books as
recently as April of this year".
    The total number of confirmed bookings has risen from 54 events in April
of this year to 77 as of September 30. These events are projected to
collectively draw some 1.1 million delegate days, and it is delegate spending,
along with that of event organizers and exhibitors, that will deliver the $1.6
billion in economic output.
    "Our sales and marketing efforts over the past several years are now
really starting to pay off, as we enter the practical booking window for
business in the post-expansion period", says VCEC President Barbara Maple. "We
are rapidly converting what were originally simply expressions of interest
into confirmed business, while more events are emerging from our ongoing
marketing efforts every week. We are confident that at this rate we will
exceed our most optimistic projections for future VCEC business".
    "We're now really starting to see the benefits of our investment in the
VCEC expansion", said Minister of Tourism, Sport and the Arts, Stan Hagen.
"We've attracted global attention, and are now converting that attention into
hard business for the province".
    "We're pleased to see such a sharp increase in business confirmations at
the VCEC given the benefits this kind of business will generate in future
years for Vancouver area hotels", said Francis Parkinson, General Manager of
The Fairmont Waterfront Hotel and President of the Vancouver Hotels
Association.
    "Closing this number of conventions this early creates momentum and is
very positive for tourism in Vancouver," said Tourism Vancouver Chair Smith
Munro.

    BACKGROUND: VCEC EXPANSION

    About the VCEC

    Since opening in 1987, the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre has
been British Columbia's flagship convention facility, attracting meetings,
conventions, and exhibitions from across North America and around the world.
In the most recent completed fiscal year (2007), which was a banner year for
the VCEC, it hosted 350 events, attracted 745,000 delegate days, and generated
more than $240 million in economic output for the province of B.C.
    When its major expansion completes in the spring of 2009, the VCEC will
offer a combined total of nearly 500,000 square feet (46,450 square meters) of
function space and generate almost three times the current number of
non-resident delegate days created by the existing centre.

    Marketing the VCEC

    The VCEC has been engaged in an aggressive international marketing
program for the last three years in order to secure events that will meet
business projections for the expanded facility. During this time, it has
maintained major promotional campaigns in key industry media, developed new
web site and Internet communications, engaged in sales activities in national
and international markets, and supported local organizations in their efforts
to bring conventions to B.C.
    Convention centre bookings proceed through a series of stages as they
approach their event dates, from tentative to confirmed. Events indicated as
confirmed are those that have issued a letter of confirmation or announced a
board decision. Once confirmed, events proceed to contracting. While site
decisions are made as far as five or six years in advance of the actual event
dates, contracting typically takes place much closer to the final event dates.
    The business objectives for the expanded VCEC have been to book not only
larger events than could be accommodated in the existing centre but also
increasing numbers of midsized events that can be handled simultaneously.
Examples of events that have been confirmed for the post-expansion period
include:

    
    -   International Congress of Oral Implantologists:
        August, 2009; 3,000 delegate days

    -   Pediatric Academic Societies:
        May, 2010; 35,000 delegate days

    -   World Tunnel Congress & ITA General Assembly:
        May 2010; 12,000 delegate days

    -   Million Dollar Round Table:
        June 2010; 42,000 delegate days

    -   Routes 2010:
        September, 2010; 12,000 delegate days

    -   International Confederation of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic
        Surgery:
        May, 2011; 18,000 delegate days

    -   International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers:
        September, 2011; 30,000 delegate days
    





For further information:

For further information: Barbara Maple, President, Vancouver Convention
& Exhibition Centre, Ph: (604) 689-8232, Email: bmaple@vcec.ca, www.vcec.ca;
Media Contact: Wanda Truesdell, Ph: (604) 647-7230, Email: wtruesdell@vcec.ca

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VANCOUVER CONVENTION & EXHIBITION CENTRE

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