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  • September 05, 2019 11:32 AM | Russell Kice (Administrator)

    Detroit’s Cobo Center Becomes the TCF Center

    Sep 3, 2019 from ExhibitCity News

    Detroit’s Cobo Center Becomes the TCF Center

    Detroit’s world-class convention center, formerly known as the Cobo Center, was officially renamed the TCF Center on Aug. 27. Announced by TCF National Bank, a subsidiary of TCF Financial Corporation, and the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority, this naming rights partnership is a 22-year deal. Chemical Bank, now a division of TCF Bank following its successful merger of equals on Aug. 1, was selected and awarded naming rights earlier this year by the DRCFA following a comprehensive, competitive process

    “We couldn’t be prouder or more honored to partner with the authority on this unique opportunity to support our hometown and state. It helps ensure a continued strong, vibrant future for the world-class Detroit convention center that connects our city to the world,” TCF Executive Chairman Gary Torgow says. “It’s an important part of our larger, intentional effort to marry inclusion with investment across the city and its neighborhoods, region and state. We look forward to reaching new heights.”

    “This naming rights agreement has been a goal of the DRCFA since it was formed in 2009 and TCF Bank is the perfect partner,” says Larry Alexander, chairman of the DRCFA and president and CEO of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Our partnership with TCF Bank will help to cement the convention center’s strong financial future. We continue to dedicate ourselves to providing world-class service to our customers, maximizing positive economic impact, creating region-wide jobs and expanding business opportunities for the benefit of business stakeholders and the local community.”

    Against the backdrop of 10 million visitors who come to greater downtown Detroit and the 1.5 million visitors to the Convention Center annually, TCF Center will continue to grow its book of meetings, conventions and event business as it has continued to set record-breaking numbers since its $279 million renovation. In fact, TCF Center had an unprecedented year in 2018 with 244 events and a 564 percent increase in revenue since 2009.

    On Aug. 1, 2019, Chemical Financial Corporation and TCF Financial Corporation closed its merger of equals becoming TCF Financial Corporation headquartered in Detroit. Both Chemical Bank and TCF Bank brands will continue in the market until mid-2020 when Chemical Bank branches will be rebranded TCF Bank. The combination creates a premier Midwest bank with $47 billion in total assets, more than 500 branches in nine states, and a specialty lending and leasing business in all 50 states. The bank will soon build a landmark tower to serve as its headquarters in downtown Detroit and helped spearhead the $35 million Strategic Neighborhood Fund to help reinvest in and bolster Detroit neighborhoods.

    “I can’t think of better partners than Gary Torgow and the team at TCF Bank to help secure the future of our region’s convention center,” says Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “Today’s announcement, combined with TCF’s commitment to build its new headquarters in downtown Detroit and Gary’s leadership building our Strategic Neighborhood Fund, shows TCF Bank is truly invested in our city and its people.”

    With 723,000 square feet of exhibit space, TCF Center, formerly Cobo Center, boasts one of the largest contiguous exhibit floor spaces in North America and is the 17th largest convention center in the country. For more info, visit www.tcfcenterdetroit.com

    TCF Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: TCF) is a Detroit-based financial holding company with more than $47 billion in total assets and a top 10 deposit market share in the Midwest. TCF’s primary banking subsidiary, TCF National Bank, is a premier Midwest bank offering consumer and commercial banking, trust and wealth management, and specialty leasing and lending products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients. TCF has more than 500 branches primarily located in Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota with additional locations in Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. For more info, visit tcfbank.com.

    On Sept. 15, 2009, operational control of TCF Center transferred to the DRCFA, under a collaborative agreement by the Michigan State Legislature, the City of Detroit, and Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. Each of these entities has an appointed member on the DRCFA Board. Larry Alexander is the appointee of the Governor of the State of Michigan and serves as Chairman of the Board. For more info, visit drcfa.org 

  • April 18, 2019 9:06 AM | Russell Kice (Administrator)

    As large events defect to other cities, plans to expand Baltimore Convention Center, add hotel move forward

    Baltimore Convention Center

    Kim Hairston / The Baltimore Sun

    City officials' hope for overhauling the Baltimore Convention Center moved forward with passage of a state bill to pay for planning and design on the project.

    City officials' hope for overhauling the Baltimore Convention Center moved forward with passage of a state bill to pay for planning and design on the project. (Kim Hairston / The Baltimore Sun)

    Meredith CohnMeredith CohnContact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

    Amid the noisy debate over the future of Pimlico Race Course and other last-minute business, the General Assembly passed another measure atop Baltimore’s wish list — a bill that would provide money for planning the expansion of the city’s convention center and construction of a new convention hotel.

    City boosters and tourism officials say the Baltimore Convention Center needs an overhaul to remain competitive and attract bigger groups. Built in 1979 and last renovated and expanded in 1997, the convention center is losing repeat customers such as the Natural Products Expo East and Otakon, which are taking their tens of thousands of attendees and millions in economic impact elsewhere.

    The measure legislators passed before the session ended last week would approve state funding to plan and design the center’s renovation and expansion as well as the new hotel. The legislation also would direct the Maryland Stadium Authority to work with the city on estimating how much the project would cost and exploring how to pay for it all.

    “We have a great opportunity to attract some larger conventions here with more, and more modern space,” said Sen. Antonio Hayes, a West Baltimore Democrat who sponsored the legislation in the Senate. “These large-scale conventions are a boon to the local economy. They also support a great number of jobs, many for local Baltimoreans.”

    Under the bill legislators are sending to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan for his consideration, the state would pay for two-thirds of the estimated $50 million planning costs, with the city expected to pay the remainder. The governor can sign the bill, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature. Funding for construction would need to be approved separately.

    New arena 'not recommended,' but second hotel endorsed as part of Baltimore Convention Center expansion

    City and state economic development leaders have concluded that a plan to build a replacement for Royal Farms Arena on the site of the Baltimore Convention Center is too ambitious and complicated to be realistic.

    The effort to expand the West Pratt Street convention center began in earnest in July, when the city released a study finding expansion was needed to attract new business. The study, conducted by the stadium authority, explored options aimed at competing with the likes of Nashville, Tenn.; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh and Washington, all of which have expanded or built new convention centers within the past decade.

    Of several options laid out in the study, officials chose one calling for the expansion and renovation of the convention with the addition of a new hotel. The other options included building a new convention center, adding an arena or simply upgrading the existing facility.

    All the options called for demolishing and replacing the center’s East Building, which dates to 1979, and increasing the center’s square footage by 500,000 square feet to 1.7 million, with exhibit space increasing by a third to 400,000 square feet. Under the chosen plan, a 500-room hotel would go on the site of the nearby 337-room Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel.

    With the legislature passing legislation that would approve funding for planning and design, officials expressed optimism that they were a step closer to new space to market.

    “As the organization charged with booking and servicing events, including large, citywide meetings at the Baltimore Convention Center, Visit Baltimore’s success is intrinsically tied to the facility,” Al Hutchinson, president & CEO of the city’s tourism agency, Visit Baltimore, said in a statement. “As such, we look forward to working closely with the Maryland Stadium Authority and city of Baltimore on the planning and design work.”

    Baltimore's 10-year-old convention hotel finally makes a profit

    The city-owned Hilton Baltimore turned a profit last year for the first time in the decade since the convention hotel opened, recording close to $1.3 million in income, a new financial audit shows.

    The 757-room hotel opened in August 2008 next to the convention center downtown, two years after...

    The city has touted the project’s potential for attracting millions more in economic spinoff from filling restaurants and hotel rooms and other income.

    Some city officials have expressed frustration with the city-owned Hilton convention hotel that opened in 2008 and finally turned a profit in 2017 after officials refinanced the debt and cut costs. Bernard C. “Jack” Young, then City Council president and now ex officio mayor, had called for the Hilton to be sold.

    As for the new proposal, Lester Davis, a spokesman for Young, said the Democratic mayor was interested in hearing what the city and state officials come up with.

    “The folks at Visit Baltimore and other agencies are working really hard to move the ball and make incremental advancements, and he’s encouraged by this,” Davis said. “He’s cautiously optimistic at this point. It’s not a situation where he’s committing to any anything new. They are getting a sense of the lay of the land, and he’s looking to get up to speed and see what makes sense before moving forward.”

    The proposal had support from Democratic Mayor Catherine Pugh, but she is now on medical leave.

    Baltimore officials build case for convention center expansion as another big convention leaves

    When Baltimore loses its biggest annual convention in 2020, it will mark the fourth time in as many years that a large group left the city to find more spacious quarters elsewhere.

    Natural Products Expo East, which has met on and off in Baltimore for decades and draws about 30,000 attendees, dealt...

    Just as city officials have been fighting to keep the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, they’ve been building the case for overhauling the convention center.

    Hutchinson had been citing losses for the convention center, which is 1.2 million square feet, smaller than newer counterparts. The Natural Products Expo said it will take its 30,000 attendees to Philadelphia in 2020; Otakon, a Japanese anime and lifestyle convention relocated to Washington in 2017; the National Athletic Trainers' Association drew about 12,000 people, but left after 2016; the American Society of Human Genetics, which drew about 8,000, moved on after 2015.

    The city did announce earlier this year that it had signed the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association men’s and women’s basketball tournament for three years beginning in 2021. The weeklong event is something of an alumni reunion and celebrity-studded festival sponsored by an athletic conference made up of smaller historically black colleges and universities, including Bowie State University.

    Some 150,000 people routinely attend the tournament, and officials in its current home city of Charlotte, N.C., say it has produced $50 million in economic spinoff.

    CIAA basketball tournaments coming to Baltimore in 2021, with potential $50 million economic impact

    The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association is bringing its big party to Baltimore starting in 2021.

    The city and the athletic conference made up of smaller historically black colleges and universities, including Bowie State University in Maryland, announced Tuesday that the CIAA will move...

    Baltimore officials said they are accommodating the event because it’s coming in the slow month of February, so hotel rooms are widely available in and around Baltimore. Games will be played at Royal Farms Arena, with other events being held at the convention center and other venues.

    Leaders had said they hoped the tournament week would also boost the city’s image after riots stemming from the death in 2015 of Freddie Gray, a young, black man, from injuries suffered in police custody. The city still grapples with a historically high murder rate, and now a black eye from a scandal involving Pugh’s insider book deal with the University of Maryland Medical System, on whose board she served.

    Visit Baltimore has booked 54 conventions in the city in 2019. There were 57 in 2018, 52 in 2017 and 48 in 2016. The convention center and hotels also book their own events.

    Now, the work could begin soon to hash out a deal with the city and begin planning.

    In a statement, the stadium authority said it “continues to work with its stakeholders and study partners on the Baltimore Convention Center Renovation/Expansion Study – Phase 2 that will outline preliminary design, cost estimating, and financing modeling. MSA looks forward to negotiating an agreement with the city of Baltimore as a basis of funding for potential next steps with allocating planning and design costs.”



    Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication |  

  • February 22, 2019 8:46 AM | Russell Kice (Administrator)

    Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY Published 3:55 p.m. ET Feb. 20, 2019 | Updated 3:57 p.m. ET Feb. 20, 2019

    Pittsburgh International Airport revealed renderings showing what its new $1.1 billion terminal is expected to look like.

    Pittsburgh has unveiled plans for a new $1.1 billion renovation that will give the city’s resurgent airport a new passenger terminal.

    The new two-story terminal, projected to open in 2023, features an undulating roof that designers say is meant to mimic the region’s rolling hills.

    The design for the new terminal was handled by architect Luis Vidal, who also designed the recently opened “T2” at London’s Heathrow Airport.

    Pittsburgh officials say the new terminal will speed flyers’ trips through the airport by consolidating check-in, ticketing, security and baggage claim “into one connected facility.” Currently, a people-mover tram is needed to funnel passengers between gate areas and check-in, baggage claim and security. The new terminal will replace the existing “landside” building, essentially filling in an empty area that currently exists between the gate areas and the airport’s entrance.

    Departing passengers will go through the new terminal’s upper level while arriving passengers will move through the lower level as they make their way from their gates to baggage claim and the airport’s exit.

    TODAY IN THE SKY: Pittsburgh to be first airport to allow non-fliers past security since 9/11

    The airport released images of the new plan, but said it will “continue to be refined over the next phase of the project …, which is expected to run through summer 2019.”

    It’s all part of a major makeover for the airport, which was revolutionary when it opened in 1992. Since then, however, Pittsburgh International has become suboptimal for the city’s modern-day needs.

    The current design was built almost exclusively to specifications called for by US Airways, which at the time used Pittsburgh as a major connecting hub that ranked among the nation’s busiest. The airport’s four passenger concourses were laid out like an “X,” giving connecting fliers a relatively short walk between gates – no matter which concourse they arrived to and departed from.

  • September 21, 2018 8:45 AM | Russell Kice (Administrator)

    Initiative to expand convention center has enough signatures to qualify for ballot — but not in 2018

    Convention Center

    K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune

    An initiative that would raise San Diego's hotel tax to underwrite an expansion of San Diego's Convention Center has enough signatures to make it onto a future ballot.

    An initiative that would raise San Diego's hotel tax to underwrite an expansion of San Diego's Convention Center has enough signatures to make it onto a future ballot. (K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune)

    Lori WeisbergLori WeisbergContact Reporter

    An initiative to bankroll a long planned expansion of San Diego’s convention center has new life after the county Registrar determined Thursday that the measure has enough signatures to qualify for the ballot — just not in 2018.

    The news comes more than a month after backers of the well-financed initiative effort learned that the measure failed a random count of the more than 114,000 signatures collected by the campaign. That triggered a full verification of all signatures by the county Registrar of Voters, but the time-consuming process would come too late to make it in time for this November’s ballot.



    Just how soon San Diegans will have a chance to vote on the measure remains unclear. Although the next regular election is not until 2020, Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who has made the convention center expansion a top priority, has previously said he would consider pushing for a special election next year if need be.

    The ballot measure, backed by a high-powered coalition of tourism and business leaders, organized labor and homeless advocates, calls for raising the city’s room tax to as much as 15.75 percent to not only fund an enlarged center but also underwrite housing and services for the homeless and pay for road repairs.

    While Faulconer would not say Thursday whether he will be seeking a special election, it’s likely he will given his longstanding desire to see the center expanded. The continued homelessness crisis is also likely to fuel a push for an earlier election.

    “This initiative is an incredible opportunity to shape the future of our city for the better by tackling our biggest challenges and it can’t happen soon enough,” Faulconer said in a statement he posted on Twitter. “With one vote, San Diegans will be able to house the homeless, fix our streets, and grow our economy — and the best part is it will all be paid for by visitors staying at our hotels. I look forward to working with our diverse coalition of supporters to finally get this across the finish line.”

    Backers of the measure are also likely to push for an election earlier than 2020.

    “The broad-based coalition supporting this measure strongly believes these are critical issues that need to be addressed as soon as possible,” said Chris Wahl, manager of the Yes! for a Better San Diego campaign. “Now that it is certain an election will happen, we plan to work with local stakeholders and the City Council to determine which ballot makes sense.”

    Under the initiative, the greatest share of revenues from the proposed tax increase — nearly $3.5 billion over 42 years — would go for the convention center project, including continued upkeep and marketing. More than $1.8 billion is to be set aside for addressing homelessness, and $551 million is targeted for road repairs.

    Still a looming question is whether the city will be able to regain control of the bayfront site where the convention center expansion would be built. Longtime Port of San Diego tenants Ray Carpenter and Art Engel currently have a leasehold on the 5-acre parcel where they have plans for a $300 million hotel development.

    Earlier this year, the city and port finalized a deal to pay Carpenter and Engel up to $33.2 million, including an up-front payment of $5 million, to secure control of their Fifth Avenue Landing leasehold, as it is known.

    Given the uncertainty surrounding the fate of the ballot measure as everyone awaited the Registrar’s full verification, the three parties last month agreed to extend the timeline for payments until Tuesday.

    Carpenter said Thursday he was not surprised by the news, but noted that his development team has not stopped processing its plans for the hotel project. He added that he does not know of any new talks scheduled with the city now that the measure has qualified.

    “The city now has a lot on their plate, so we will take it day by day and go from there,” he said.

    Matt Awbrey, chief of civic and external affairs for Faulconer’s office, said he expects the port, the city and Fifth Avenue Landing to reconvene “as soon as possible to revisit the payment schedule in the agreement based on the fact that this measure is moving forward.”

    What remains unknown, though, is whether Fifth Avenue Landing will be pressing the parties for additional money now that it will be asked to hold off on its project for a longer period of time. Under the terms of the original agreement, which assumed a vote this November, Fifth Avenue Landing was entitled to keep the $5 million up-front payment if the initiative failed at the ballot box. It could then resume pursuing its hotel development.

    The campaign to qualify the initiative was a costly one, with backers spending more than $1.4 million through the first half of this year. Major companies, including Sempra Energy, and large hotels were among the contributors.

    In the waning days of the petition drive, as it appeared that the number of valid signatures were falling short of expectations, supporters began sending out appeals to the business community for help in circulating petitions. But the effort apparently was not enough to overcome issues with the validity of some signatures that were collected.

    Although the campaign turned in a sizable number of signatures in August, a random check showed that they still fell short of the required 71,646 signatures of registered voters in the city of San Diego.

    Backers announced shortly thereafter that they planned to sue their signature-gathering firm for breach of contract, but no suit has yet been filed.

    “The committee plans to aggressively recoup the money it is owed,” Wahl said Thursday. “How this will be done is still being determined.”

    The firm, Arno Petition Consultants, could not be reached for comment Thursday. A phone number on its website connects callers to a “bookings group.”

    Meanwhile, tourism leaders are growing increasingly anxious about lost convention business the longer an expansion is delayed. They argue that many of the larger, more lucrative meetings will bypass San Diego in favor of cities that have centers with much more exhibit space.

    Tourism Authority CEO Joe Terzi said he received a letter just last week from the American Association for Cancer Research saying it was officially canceling its booking to come to San Diego in 2023. The group said the center is no longer large enough to accommodate its continued attendance growth since the annual meeting was last held in San Diego in 2014.

    “Without expansion of the Convention Center, we cannot hold our 2023 meeting in your facilities,” wrote Michael Stewart, the association’s chief financial officer. “Based on current space requirements and growth projections, the AACR will need a minimum of 600,000 square feet of exhibit space and approximately 300,000 square feet of space for the plenary hall to accommodate our annual meeting in 2023. Both of these requirements exceed the Convention Center’s capacity.”

    Although the growing supply of convention space across the country is outstripping demand, popular destinations like San Diego are facing increasing competition. Anaheim recently finished enlarging its center, San Francisco's Moscone Center is in the midst of construction on its project, and the operator of the Los Angeles center has proposed a $1.2 billion expansion that would include an 850-room hotel tower.

  • September 10, 2018 8:55 AM | Russell Kice (Administrator)

    Oregon Convention Center recognized for clean water strategy

    Oregon Convention Center rain garden

    Oregon Convention Center rain garden

    Oregon Convention Center recognized for clean water strategy

    Sept. 7, 2018 9:18 a.m.

    Healthy watersheds advocate Salmon-Safe has recognized the Oregon Convention Center with Salmon-Safe recertification for its commitment to reducing polluted runoff to the Willamette River.

    A Portland-based nonprofit, Salmon-Safe works with public and private landowners to promote reduced water use, onsite stormwater treatment, and protection of water quality. Properties like the Oregon Convention Center are certified as Salmon-Safe for extensive efforts to halt runoff from entering streams and impacting imperiled salmon.

    Dan Kent, cofounder and executive director of Salmon-Safe, said the convention center stands out for its aggressive goal-setting and comprehensive approach.

    “OCC is consistently motivated to implement the most ecologically responsible solutions for its site,” Kent said. “And being a stone’s throw from the Willamette, actions on their site can have a profound impact on the river.”

    In the certification letter Salmon-Safe presented to the Oregon Convention Center, Salmon-Safe’s independent expert team highlighted the center’s largely pesticide-free campus, its large water-filtering rain garden, and the construction of its environmentally innovative events plaza.

    Matt Uchtman, the convention center’s director of operations, said Salmon-Safe’s rigorous guidelines give the center the opportunity to set industry standards for sustainability.

    “Working with Salmon-Safe helps us to look at the whole picture,” Uchtman said. “What we have is a checks and balances relationship that let’s us know we’re doing the right thing and that our contractors are living up to the expectations we’ve set forth.”

    For a facility the area of 10 city blocks, the convention center contracts landscaping services for grounds keeping. With help from Salmon-Safe’s guidelines, Uchtman works directly with landscapers to ensure the property is maintained with least-toxic chemicals. Quarterly soil testing reduces the use of fertilizers, and if a certain product is required, Uchtman contacts Salmon-Safe for a list of alternatives.

    In 2003, the landscaping along the building’s south side underwent a transformation into a 318-foot rain garden. Water from 5.5 acres of the convention center’s roof is channeled into pools of varying height along the garden, where plants tease out contaminates and debris.

    But the convention center’s new outdoor events space was perhaps most impressive to Salmon-Safe.

    Constructed with pervious surfaces, native plantings and two bioswales, rainwater travels throughout the plaza, is cooled and filtered before moving to storm sewers. And thanks to the convention center’s stringent tracking of water use, the addition of the plaza has not raised its overall water consumption since its first certification.

    An upcoming remodel of the center’s north plaza has the same goal of maintaining, or even decreasing, water usage levels, while simultaneously mitigating stormwater runoff.

    Along with requiring Uchtman’s staff to log water and chemical use, Kent says the real test of sustainability comes from an onsite evaluation. Every five years, during the recertification process, an independent Salmon-Safe science team in the fields of salmon health, pest management and stormwater treatment tour the site.

    Pleased with the strides the convention center is making in its mission for sustainability, Uchtman is already looking ahead. The center has already conducted a study on the feasibility of the installation of a green wall that would treat stormwater on the north side of property.

    Those plans could include a storage component, as well as bioswales and a rain garden expansion.

    “We’re definitely more focused and aware of the impacts that we can have as a business,” Uchtman said. “The difference we can make by doing small things everywhere demonstrates our commitment to overall sustainability.”

    The Oregon Convention Center was one of the first urban sites and the first convention center ever to receive Salmon-Safe certification in 2007.

    Salmon-Safe has worked with more than 900 private landowners and transitioned approximately 90,000 acres of urban and agricultural land in critical West Coast salmon watersheds to certification. Founded by river and native fish conservation organization Pacific Rivers, Salmon-Safe became an independent nonprofit in 2002.

  • July 05, 2018 8:44 AM | Russell Kice (Administrator)

    New Jersey

    July 3, 2018

    Two major new resort openings in Atlantic City just brought a host of new meeting and event space to the destination, plus some major new entertainment venues. The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, built on the site of the former Trump Taj Mahal, and Ocean Resort Casino, formerly Revel, both celebrated their grand opening on June 28.

    Ocean Resort Casino, which held a ribbon cutting ceremony June 28 with actor Mark Wahlberg and other city and state officials, was acquired by AC Ocean Walk in January. It has gone a top-to-bottom property refresh aimed at creating what officials are describing as a welcoming, exciting and engaging destination resort casino. It is part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand.

    Ocean Resort Casino has 160,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, plus 90,000 square feet of flexible outdoor special event space. The property is built around a 138,000 square foot casino floor, which includes a 7,500 square foot sports book and bar. In terms of accommodations, there are 1,399 guest rooms, all of which have views of the Atlantic Ocean. Types range from standard rooms with queen beds to one bedroom suites with king beds and a separate sitting room. Other amenities include a 40,000 square foot onsite Exhale spa (from Hyatt’s newly acquired wellness brand), six swimming pools – one of which is a dayclub that hosts live entertainment – the world’s largest indoor Topgolf Swing Suite and two nightclubs. There is also a 4,2000 seat Ovation Hall event venue that will host live entertainment and concerts, plus more than 15 restaurants. The resort is part of the World of Hyatt loyalty program, and it is pet-friendly.

    Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City is a 17-acre property on the boardwalk. Since Hard Rock purchased it as the former Trump Taj Mahal, pouring over $500 million into a renovation that completely gutted the guest rooms and most public areas. The resort now has 150,000 square feet of meeting space, plus an aggressive entertainment lineup through its “365 Live” program, which will aim to host acts every day of the year across six different performance stages with artists from popular talent shows like American Idol, The Voice and America's Got Talent, Grammy Award winners, comedians and national touring acts. There is also a nightclub, as well as a comedy club by Howie Mandel. In terms of accommodations, there are 2,000 guestrooms and suites, plus amenities such as the Rock Spa & Salon, Body Rock Fitness Center, retail offerings, The Sound of Your Stay music amenity program and the Rock Shop. More than 20 food and beverage offerings run the gamut from the Council Oak Fish seafood restaurant to an outpost of the Sugar Factory.

    The twin openings come following a challenging few years for Atlantic City’s tourism sector. The $2.4 billion mega-resort, Revel, closed in 2014 after its second bankruptcy filing, just two years after it opened. The Trump Taj Mahal closed in October 2016 amid a labor dispute; the property had previously been purchased in 2014 by investor Carl Icahn.

  • June 18, 2018 8:49 AM | Russell Kice (Administrator)

    Last updated: 06:19 AM ET, Mon June 18 2018Fort Lauderdale Opens LGBT+ Visitor Center

    LGBTQ International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association Monica Poling June 16, 2018

    Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (photo via Sean Pavone / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

    The Greater Fort Lauderdale area opened its first-ever LGBT+ visitor center dedicated to showcasing attractions of interest to the community on Thursday.

    The new center, a joint venture between the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce, is located in Wilton Manors, which is home to the region’s largest concentration of gay residents and businesses. It will share space with the Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce

    “We are proud to have a long and positive history of supporting the LGBT+ community,” said Richard Gray, Vice President of LGBT+ for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The opening of this Visitor Center marks another important milestone in the uniqueness of our area in recognizing the value and needs of the LGBT+ visitor. We are very excited about this latest advancement in calling attention to all of our great attractions, hotels, clubs, bars and restaurants that cater to this important audience.”

    Greater Fort Lauderdale, considered one of the most diverse and welcoming destinations in the world, is home to hundreds of gay-owned and operated businesses. The region, which also has the highest concentration of same-sex couple households in the country, welcomes 1.5 million LGBT+ visitors who spend $1.5 billion on travel-related services every year.

    “The economic impact the LGBT+ community locally cannot be understated, especially by LGBT+ visitors that come here from all over the world year after year,” said Keith Blackburn, CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce. “While LGBT+ travelers have many of the same needs as straight travelers, many unique needs exist. This Visitor Center will serve as a place where people can stop in, ask for recommendations and receive information about the community, our member businesses, events and organizations.”

    The Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB also recently announced it would host the first-ever Pride of the Americas Festival in 2020. The 10-day event will feature a parade, a beach party, an arts festival, social events and a human rights conference focused on LGBT+ rights. It is expected to attract more than 350,000 attendees.

    Greater Fort Lauderdale is also home to one of the largest Pride Centers in the country as well as the world's first AIDS museum, the global headquarters of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, and the Stonewall Museum, one of the only permanent spaces in the U.S. devoted to exhibitions relating to LGBT+ history and culture.

    The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau became the first domestic marketing agency with a dedicated LGBT+ marketing department in 1996. It continues to pioneer LGBT+ marketing efforts, while also ensuring the destination remains inclusive and welcoming with a diverse, safe and open community for all travelers.

    Travel professionals interested in booking Fort Lauderdale packages can become a Fort Lauderdale Specialist at Travel Agent Academy.

  • June 12, 2018 2:05 PM | Russell Kice (Administrator)

    EMB Logo


    Fifth Annual Exhibitions Day Reaches Record Attendance

    Industry Professionals Advocate on Capitol Hill


    DALLAS, 12 June 2018 – Exhibitions Day, the collaborative effort between exhibitions and events industry organizations held 5-6 June 2018, drew a record breaking 125 attendees who carried the industry’s message to elected officials on Capitol Hill. The International Association of Exhibitions and Events™ (IAEE) and the Exhibitions Mean Business Campaign collaborated with 20 industry organizations in this industry-wide effort now in its fifth year.


    “As recently reported by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), exhibitions and events now contribute $91 billion to the U.S. GDP,” said IAEE President and CEO David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA. “It is our duty and responsibility to educate our government officials on how we can work together to continue the upward growth of this important business channel.”


    Day one of the event included an orientation session to provide attendees with the latest updates on the legislative issues they would discuss with members of Congress, followed by a reception sponsored by Trade Show Executive. The following day, more than 100 meetings on the Hill were held emphasizing the main issues affecting the exhibitions and events industry. These included online booking, safety and security, travel facilitation, and infrastructure investment.


    “One of our industry’s strengths is that we are ‘people’ people. We believe in and truly enjoy communicating the benefits of face-to-face engagement,” said IAEE Chairperson Daniel McKinnon, CEM. “The fact that we had record attendance this year shows how passionate we are about what we do, and how significant meetings are to our economy and the global business ecosystem.”


    Click on the video below to view coverage of this year’s Exhibitions Day provided by Convention News Television (CNTV):



    Exhibitions Day is also a supporting effort of Global Exhibitions Day, a worldwide initiative supporting the exhibitions and events industry.


    About Exhibitions Mean Business

    Exhibitions Day is part of the Exhibitions Mean Business (EMB) Campaign, established in 2011 to unify and give a collective voice to the exhibitions and events industry and better advocate the benefits of face-to-face meetings to business growth and economic development. Driven by members of the industry including professional associations, venue and convention center operators, exhibitions-focused service providers, convention and visitors bureaus, and other travel and tourism organizations, EMB promotes the values of the industry through strategic advocacy campaigns, media relations efforts and stakeholder engagement initiatives. Visit www.exhibitionsmeanbusiness.org for more information.




    Media Inquiries:

    Mary Tucker

    Sr. PR/Communications Manager

    +1 (972) 687-9226


  • June 08, 2018 8:41 AM | Russell Kice (Administrator)

    Record-breaking 85 Countries Take Part in Global Exhibitions Day (#GED18)

    June 7, 2018

    TSNN News

    Exhibition professionals around the world came out in record numbers for the third Global Exhibitions Day (GED) June 6.

    Not only did this highlight the industry’s role as a driver of economic growth, but also established GED 2018 as the biggest day of advocacy for the exhibition world so far, with 85 countries taking part, according to data from UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry.

    This year’s GED focused on two key areas: first, to advocate industry issues with politicians and stakeholders, and secondly, on finding new ways to connect with young people to attract the right talent to the exhibition industry.

    By the end of the day, the UFI team in Paris had registered activities in 85 countries and regions from all around the world, with the leading organisers, venues and service providers all being active.

    This year’s success builds on the impressive results from the 2017 campaign, which already set a record for global industry advocacy.

    Coordinated by UFI, this joint advocacy campaign also united 41 GED partner associations.

    “I watched the action unfold throughout the day from my home country Italy,” said UFI President Corrado Peraboni.

    He added, “All around the world, our industry stood up to be noticed – and we succeeded! I am especially pleased to see the prominent support from ministers in national governments who shared their understanding of how important exhibitions and business events are for their economies and citizens.”

    Activities in all parts of the world GED saw a broad mix of activities, both on-site and online, promoting exhibitions as business platforms, as well as highlighting opportunities for career and business development.

    Specific events and activities were arranged by many of the international and national organisers, by venues, by service providers, and also by national and regional associations.

    “It has once again been absolutely amazing to see our industry united for this cause. While the whole UFI team around the world will really need some sleep now, it’s been an absolute pleasure to support our global exhibition industry community in this way,” said Kai Hattendorf, UFI managing director/CEO.

    He added, “When we started GED in 2016, we were encouraged by the strong support we received. Now, just two years on, GED has helped all of us make a real difference in obtaining tangible recognition for our industry. So a huge thank-you to everyone – no matter how large or small – who joined in the GED activities.”

    Preliminary data analysis shows that on Global Exhibitions Day alone, joint initiatives by the industry reached a record number of people all over the globe – both face-to-face and on social media.

    Initial research suggests that the number of GED events and projects has risen yet again year-on-year.

    On social media, more than 4 million individual twitter accounts were reached through messages using the #ged18 hashtag alone on GED itself - up by at least 30 percent from last year.

    GED 1

    A list of global GED activities is available at www.globalexhibitionsday.org.

    Here are some examples of the many activities that focused on education and networking around the world:

    • In Australia, the Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment endorsed GED in a video message to the industry. EEAA also organised the 2018 Global Exhibitions Day and Leaders’ Forum Dinner, and launched a talent acquisition campaign called “A Career for Life”.
    • In Asia, activities were reported at many venues in China, whilst in Thailand, the TCEB ran an “Exhibition Industry Forum” focusing on the theme of change. In India, the IEIA oversaw festivities in New Delhi, Mumbai, Greater Noida, Hyderabad and Jaipur. Meetings were organised with ministers and government officials from various states to raise awareness of how important the exhibition industry actually is. Last but not least, “IEIA Youth CONNECT” used interactive sessions to reach out to students from MICE/event management institutes to encourage them to pursue a career in the exhibition industry.
    • In Africa, AAXO organised the first edition of "Exhibition Games", with 44 contestants taking part in this friendly contest. The association also hosted an open conversation between organisers and suppliers to address industry issues.
    • In Europe, Germany’s AUMA shared the findings of national research, backed by the latest data, to demonstrate just how important the exhibition industry is for the German economy. Italy’s AEFI hosted a government advocacy event in Rome. In Spain, AFE scheduled government meetings, and IFEMA held an open day, offering a guided tour of their facilities with a special invitation for students. In Russia, RUEF organised the seventh Russian Exhibition Industry Conference in Moscow. EXPOCENTRE Moscow assembled a display of vintage exhibition posters in the Vystavochnaya (exhibition) metro station. In France, UNIMEV hosted the third Annual Global Exhibitions Day Run in Paris. In addition, young industry professionals from many countries talked about their career paths and motivation for working in the exhibition industry.

     • In the Middle East, the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC) adjusted the lighting of its roof sun-wells to reflect the name of the event (“GED18”), creating a unique visual over the course of the week. The Abu Dhabi-based ADNEC group gathered and linked up staff at their different venues from around the world, hence demonstrating their connectedness.

    • In North America, IAEE invited its members to travel to Washington DC for a day of advocacy talks with parliamentarians and their staff. Both Freeman and GES, headquartered in the USA, ran activities globally showcasing the broad range of career activities in the industry.
    • In Latin America, Corferias (Colombia) is currently holding the lead in the global #GEDNumberChallenge - gathering 510 industry professionals in one GED picture. AMPROFEC members hosted events all across the country in Mexico.

    In addition, this year saw a huge rise in the number of videos posted online. Many young industry colleagues across the globe joined in on the "Follow Me" campaign and shared their working environments on social networks, showcasing how attractive and multifaceted our industry is.

    Global players Reed, UBM, Comexposium and GES (to name just a few) were particularly active here.

    More details about the GED activities that took place around the world are available at www.globalexhibitionsday.org.

    There, all GED participants can record their specific activities on a dedicated database.

    “We are calling on everyone to share their activities with the global community to help establish best practices,” said Christian Druart from UFI’s GED project team. GED Awards recognise this year’s best initiatives. In the coming weeks, UFI’s media partner Exhibition World, together with the UFI team, will review all reported GED activities, and select best practice examples to be shared with the rest of the industry.

    Winners will receive the “GED Award” in the following five categories: Most Creative Activity, Highest Profile Online Activity, Biggest Scale Physical Activity, Industry Impact Award, and (new this year) the Talent Promotion Award.

    Exhibitions Day always takes place on the first Wednesday in June. GED 2019 is therefore scheduled June 5, 2019.

    The 41 GED partner associations under the UFI umbrella are: AAXO (South Africa), AEFI (Italy), AEO (UK), AFE (Spain), AFECA (Asia), AFIDA (Central & South America), AMPROFEC (Mexico), AOCA (Argentina), AUMA (Germany), CAEM (Canada), CEFA (Central Europe), CENTREX (Central Europe), CFI (Italy), EEAA (Australasia), EEIA (EU), EFU (Ukraine), EMECA (Europe), EXSA (South Africa), FAIRLINK (Sweden), FAMAB (Germany), HKECIA (Hong-Kong), IAEE (USA), IDFA (Germany), IECA (Indonesia), IEIA (India), IELA (Global), IFES (Global), LECA (Lebanon), MACEOS (Malaysia), MFTA (Macao), PCEI (Poland), RUEF (Russia), SACEOS/SECB (Singapore), Shanghai Convention and Exhibition Industries Association (China), SISO (USA), TEA (Thailand), TECA (Taiwan), TFOA (Turkey), UBRAFE (Brazil) and UNIMEV (France).

  • June 06, 2018 8:46 AM | Russell Kice (Administrator)

    #ExhibitionsDay | 5-6 June 2018 | Washington, D.C.#ExhibitionsDay | 5-6 June 2018 | Washington, D.C.

    Today’s the day 

    Today we take our message to Washington, D.C. to meet with federal lawmakers about issues and legislation affecting the U.S. exhibitions industry. Right now, more than 100 industry professionals are beginning their meetings in D.C. so let’s show them our support.



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