City In Trouble When It Comes To Conventions

City In Trouble When It Comes To Conventions

The city of Memphis is in big trouble when it comes to the convention business.
MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com) - The city of Memphis is in big trouble when it comes to the convention business.

The head of the Convention and Visitors Bureau told city council members facilities here are too small and outdated. Toss in not enough big hotels and fewer direct flights and you have convention troubles

The Cook Convention Center had an $8 million renovation job about a decade ago. It's sort of like putting lipstick on a pig, according to convention and visitors bureau head Kevin Kane.

“I think we are heading toward being functionally obsolete for major convention business in our community,” Kevin Kane of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau said.

2012 was the best year ever for the convention center. Since then the city of nashville has opened a huge new $625 million convention center and things have changed.

“Convention wise we are a lower second tier or third tier convention center. They base it on the size of your hotels and your convention center,” Kane said.

Nashville, New Orleans, and Charlotte all have built or expanded facilities.

Also, of all the hotels we have in Memphis only five are considered large enough to have convention events.

Not to mention all those non stop flights we used to have to Memphis that have flown the coop.

The only way to really compete is to at least start looking at what it will take to build a new convention center.

The biggest project the city's ever built was FedExForum, at a cost of $250 million. That is about a third the cost of Nashville’s convention center.

“It's something we're going to have to discuss. But we're going to have to discuss it in the context of where we need our financial situation to be,” councilman Shea Flinn said.

It takes years to get convention centers off the ground. Council member Shea Flinn said now is the time to at least start looking at what it would take and how much it would cost.
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