Convention for Conventions...

A Chronicle Report
      THE BALTIMORE AREA Convention and Visitors Association (BACVA) announced at the end of July that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) would be holding its next national convention here in Charm City from July 7-13, 2000. Over 12,000 people are expected to attend.
      The city was competing with two other top contenders-- Washington, DC and San Francisco.
       Baltimore was in the running because it was able to meet a “monetary requirement” stipulated by the NAACP: the host city had to provide $150,000 as a condition for being selected. Baltimore’s check, presented at a breakfast on July 16 when the NAACP’s New York convention concluded, was contributed by “corporate leaders” organized by the Greater Baltimore Committee, chief among them the Bank of America.
       BACVA spokesperson Nancy Hinds said the monetary request was not unusual, given the competitive nature of the convention business. “Not all groups request it,” she said. “It depends on the group, its size, the prestige of it. This is a very, very competitive business, with tremendous economic impact.”
      The International Association of Convention Bureaus estimates that a three- to three-and-a-half day convention with a trade show component generates $1200 per person in revenue for the host city. Without a trade show, the figure is $930. NAACP attendees are expected to spend $12 to $13 million in Baltimore during their visit.
      “You have to spend to get them,” she said. “The money helps them publicize ahead of time. A lot of times, instead of money, cities are asked to host events.”
      Typically, major conventions book their locations five years ahead of time.

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This story was published on September 1, 1999.