10:45am | A “record crowd” attended the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau annual meeting on Thursday to hear from the city’s source on conventions, travel and tourism, according to event organizers.
The event was held at the Terrace Theater inside the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, drawing a crowd estimated to be between 350 and 400 people.
Speakers included Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, City Manager Pat West and Jamal Hageb with the American Bar Association.
CVB President & CEO Steve Goodling, who served as the event’s emcee, acknowledged the last few years were challenging, but said that 2010 was also was a success from a standpoint of drawing convention business and travelers to the city.
“What a great year it was,” Goodling said. Events like Red Bull Flutag, which drew thousands to the area, and Travis Pastrana’s record jump of a rally car – both events held in downtown Long Beach – which reportedly drew 40,000 people to downtown, helped give the city international exposure, Goodling said.
Goodling also discussed future events coming to the city, such as Hot August Nights, a nostalgic automobile event held around the country that typically draws thousands of people. Goodling said that event, set for Aug. 3 thru Aug. 6, 2011 is expected to generate more than $800,000 in bed tax for the city.
The big announcement of the night was that the Jehovah’s Witnesses conferences have signed to hold its summer conventions in Long Beach for the next eight to ten years. That deal, Goodling said, will generate $4.5 million in bed taxes, and over 400,000 room nights for the city.
“I can’t tell you how many cities would love to have 14 weekends (of conventions filled every summer,” Goodling said.
Goodling highlighted some statistics for the year, which included five industry awards for the CVB, advertisements for the city that ran in 12 publications garnering an estimated 2.8 million impressions, 120,000 visitors to the CVB website and 238,000 room nights for the city in 2010.
City Manager Pat West talked about some upcoming projects for the city, including the ongoing improvements at Long Beach Airport, which when done, West said will be “a jewel as you enter Long Beach.”
Mayor Bob Foster talked about the spirit of the city, stating, “That’s what you’ve created. You’ve all done that. You’ve made this a great place.”
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