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Conferences Make Post-Pandemic Recovery

Convention halls are filling back up again following the pandemic, restoring a critical type of “economic fuel” that had been cut off for three years, The Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports.

What’s going on: Attendance at in-person business conferences is on the rise across the U.S., supporting local jobs and wages that had suffered since 2020—particularly in tourist- and conference-heavy cities such as Las Vegas.

  • “Economists said that travelers provide an economic and tax boost to cities without using services, like schools. ‘They come, spend and leave,’ said Angelos Angelou, president of an economic-impact research firm that has produced reports for events and conferences like South by Southwest and Lollapalooza. ‘It’s the kind of economic bonanza that any type of city would love to have.’”

​​​​​​​Betting big: Some municipalities are so sure the recovery is permanent that they’ve invested in new conference facilities.

  • Seattle recently opened a $2 billion addition to its convention center, and last November, Dallas voters approved their own convention-center expansion—with a price tag of $4 billion—to be funded through hotel taxes.
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