Fewer Workers And Less Money But Phoenix Booking Future Conventions

By Christina Estes
Published: Thursday, December 24, 2020 - 2:34pm
Updated: Friday, December 25, 2020 - 1:37am

2020 was on track to be a record year for the Phoenix Convention Center. Until the coronavirus hit.

Since the outbreak, close to 200 events at the Convention Center, Phoenix Symphony Hall and Orpheum Theatre have been canceled, including 52 conventions.

The lost conventions are estimated to have cost $235 million in direct visitor spending. The city projects direct operating revenues losses — things like facility rentals, catering, and parking — of $18.5 million for fiscal year 2020-21 and a decrease of combined excise taxes of $20.7 million.

The city is trying to find other positions for 25 full-time convention center workers. Nearly 50 part-time employees are getting fewer hours. And more than 40 full- and part-time positions that have been vacant will stay vacant.

people standing around
Christina Estes/KJZZ
Entrance to South Ballroom of Phoenix Convention Center on Aug. 21, 2019.

Cancellations are expected to continue through the first half of 2021. While there is no timetable to reopen yet, the center created a marketing video highlighting health and safety precautions.

In a news release, the center said it was the first public venue in Arizona to receive GBAC STAR accreditation, which it called the gold standard of safe venues: “The GBAC Accreditation program enables facilities to maximize product use and best practices for sanitization and train staff to implement them at the level needed to thoroughly sterilize and clean environments in the era of COVID-19.”

Nearly 20 of this year’s cancelled conventions were rebooked into future years. The Convention Center and Visit Phoenix also say they have booked another 72 conventions this year to be held over the next several years.

Phoenix Convention Center
Christina Estes/KJZZ
Phoenix Convention Center

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