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convention biz

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Delegate days at the Whistler Conference Centre during the first three months of this year declined 29.7 per cent over the same period last year, but the drop is likely due to an exceptional 1995 and the cyclical nature of convention business. "It goes up and down based on conventions’ rotation," Whistler Resort Association President David Thomson said. "The convention business is very cyclical," Tracy Cosgrove, director of conference sales for the WRA, added. "Many organizations we deal with every second or third year." Cosgrove noted that the first three months of the year are not prime convention time in Whistler, as rooms are at a premium and the resort is at its busiest. Despite that, several conventions last year were geared toward skiing, which helped push up Whistler’s total delegate days last winter. Statistics put together by Pannell Kerr Forster for the first three months of 1996 show delegate days were up 27.5 per cent at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre and up 35.3 per cent at the Penticton Trade and Conference Centre, but down at convention facilities in Whistler, Victoria and Prince George. Although convention business may be down, WRA figures to the end of April show an anticipated growth rate of 4 per cent in the number of room nights generated compared to the previous winter. However, with the completion of Town Plaza and other projects there were also more rooms available this winter than last.

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