Saturday, March 20, 2010

Orlando starts its push for the NRA show

Looks as if Orlando is starting a full-court press to become the next host of the National Restaurant Association’s annual convention.

The Florida city ran an ad Friday in SmartBriefs, the NRA’s daily e-mail newsletter for restaurateurs. “Meet in Orland, Save $20 million?” read the headline of the pitch.

It explained that the Society of the Plastic Industry will save that much by shifting its big trade show to Orlando in 2012 and 2015. The savings, along with the service provided by the city’s convention center, “led SPI to leave Chicago after nearly 40 years and meet in Orlando,” the ad explained.

The NRA has held its trade show in Chicago for about 60 years. It’s committed to holding the mega-event in the Windy City’s McCormick Place through 2011. The association has worked with the convention center and the unions that serve it to bring down the cost of exhibiting, a complaint of some participants.

Before the NRA re-upped with Chicago in 2006, Orlando and Las Vegas had reportedly tried to land the convention.

The NRA show is one of the nation’s largest trade expositions, with attendance typically topping 75,000, not counting exhibitor personnel. Last year’s turn-out was dampened by the economy to about 38,000, with another 15,500 supplier company representatives also participating.

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