Phoenix Convention Center hosting fewer events

Posted: Updated:
By Matthew Seeman By Matthew Seeman
By Matthew Seeman By Matthew Seeman
By Matthew Seeman By Matthew Seeman
By Matthew Seeman By Matthew Seeman
By Matthew Seeman By Matthew Seeman

PHOENIX -- The highly touted expansion of the Phoenix Convention Center has not attracted as many exhibitors as expected.

Dubbed one of the top 20 convention cities in the country, Phoenix invested almost $600 million six years ago into tripling the size of the center to nearly 1 million square feet.

However, the city hosted three fewer conventions last year than it did in 2005, before the expansion took place.

A spokesperson for the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitor’s Bureau said the recession is to blame. Fewer groups and businesses are traveling to places like the Valley to hold their events.

Phoenix also added more hotel rooms but, with fewer conventions and events, occupancy rates are below expectations.

Downtown hotels last year had a combined occupancy rate of about 60 percent. Though that number sounds low, the visitor’s bureau said that rate has grown for three consecutive years.