'From Bankruptcy to Must-See:' Detroit's 2019 Meetings Lineup Shows Momentum

March 17, 2019, 8:23 AM

Sure, Judy Booth's question is self-serving, as well as rhetorical: "How does a city go from complete bankruptcy to a must-see destination?" It's also on-point.

Photo: Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau

She's sales and marketing director at the Detroit Marriott downtown, and is quoted in a Crain's Detroit Business roundup on large events booked here this year. "Meeting planners across the country are very curious about what's going on in Detroit," Booth tells Doug Henze

"There's a lot more positive national press and there's a lot more positive local press and that really helps us," said Booth. . . .

Engineers, civil rights leaders and science-minded teens will be among the thousands of visitors who converge on metro Detroit this year for conventions — yet another a sign of momentum in a resurgent downtown. . . .

"We're certainly seeing an uptick in interest in meetings of all sizes," said Dave Beachnau, senior vice president . . . for the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. "It's a byproduct of [how] the conversation about Detroit has certainly changed."

Crain's latest issue lists high-profile events at Cobo Center this month, next month and this summer:

  • National Society of Black Engineers conference: 13,200 participants from March 27-30; first annual meeting in Detroit since 1995.
  • FIRST Championship (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology): 50,000 visitor projected for nationmal youth robotics competitions April 24-27, held here for second straight year.
  • NAACP: 110th national convention from July 20-24, aith 8,000 attendees; last convention here was in 2007. Cobo March 27-30.

Beachnau's bureau starts an online pitch to meeting planners by asking "Why Detroit?" and answering, in part:

Because mainstream is boring. Because it’s time to be the meeting industry's next disruptor. Because it’s the city people are talking about -- in a good way.

Read more:  Crain's Detroit Business

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