ATLANTIC CITY — Hotel bookings and the number of conventions have jumped so far this year as Atlantic City makes a bigger push for more corporate business to help offset the loss of four casinos in 2014.
In addition, the number of conventions and meetings held at the Atlantic City Convention Center and the city’s hotels has climbed 33 percent this year. Musich said 80 events were held in the first four months of 2015, compared with 60 last year.
“We’re pretty happy with the results after four months,” Musich said in a report during the Meet AC monthly board meeting Monday.
In addition to the increased convention activity this year, the booking of the Meeting Professionals International conference at the Harrah’s Resort Waterfront Conference Center in June 2016 will be another big boost for the city’s economy and image, Meet AC officials said.
“It legitimizes us as a first-class meetings and conventions destination,” Meet AC Chairman Jeff Albrecht said.
About 2,000 meeting planners are expected to attend the MPI gathering at Harrah’s new $126 million conference center. Atlantic City officials, while announcing the MPI conference last week, said this is exactly the type of corporate business the resort is looking to draw.
Atlantic City currently grabs just 1 percent of the $16 billion convention and meetings market in the northeastern United States. By attracting more conventions and corporate meetings, the city will replace some of the gambling business that was lost when the Atlantic Club, Showboat, Revel and Trump Plaza casinos closed last year.
“It was a significant coup for Atlantic City to land this show,” Jim Wood, Meet AC’s president and CEO, said of the MPI conference.
Meet AC was created in 2014 to increase the meetings and conventions trade. It is targeting more regional conventions, sports events and bus groups as part of its strategy. A bigger convention sales staff, advertising blitzes and a heavier use of social media are key components of its campaign.
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