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In convention business, this year "will continue to be a difficult year for San Diego," says tourism guru Jerry Morrison of Encinitas. He considers it good news that the San Diego Tourism Authority (formerly CONVIS) will be taking over booking of much convention business. That change was approved by the city council in March of last year, partly because booking patterns were irregular and often stagnating. "However, in the period leading up to the recent change the City missed on the bidding cycles for many conventions and therefore it may take several years to get back on the calendar of these major conventions," says Morrison. "According to [San Diego Tourism Authority] reports, convention center booking will be substantially below what was done in 2012."

He says San Diego won't be able to get back to its pre-recession 2007 level in revenue per available room (RevPAR) "any time soon." San Francisco is already 23.5% ahead of its comparable 2007 levels; Los Angeles is up 6.4% and the top 25 markets in the U.S. are up 0.7%. Orange County is flat and San Diego down 8.2%.

San Diego's weather hit December figures. RevPAR was down 12%. San Francisco was up 13.4%, Orange County up 10.1% and Los Angeles up 11%. Nationwide, the top 25 markets were up 7.8%.

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Visduh Jan. 25, 2013 @ 2:51 p.m.

Uh, let me get this straight, please. The convention center is on track to be expanded, yet the city botched its bidding for conventions, missed some of them, and will not be reconsidered for many more for years to come. Is that the point of this posting? If it is, the city has finally proved that it is incapable of doing anything correctly. This should be or have been front page news in the Mill, or at the very least ballyhooed in the Watchdog column. The city's taxpayers are being asked to allow the city to go on the hook to guarantee another expansion of the center, yet the city could not run a booking office correctly, and lost many, many millions of business due to incompetence. Say it ain't so, Don!


Don Bauder Jan. 25, 2013 @ 3:07 p.m.

Visduh: The convention center expansion is another corporate welfare scam. Convention centers are vastly overbuilt nationally. This was proposed to appease one group: Comic-Con, which will eventually end up near Hollywood anyway. Do you remember my column in which the nation's convention center expert, Heywood Sanders, showed how the San Diego convention center was cooking the books -- vastly overstating numbers? Then, the City auditor agreed that it was true; convention center statistics were inflated. The local media either played down or ignored completely the auditor's report; I don't remember which. I do not think the book-cooking ever came up in the discussion about the center expansion. But the council quietly took much of the sales function away from the center staff, partly because the expansion is supposedly to be financed with new hotel taxes. Incompetence? No. Corruption. Best, Don Bauder


ImJustABill Jan. 26, 2013 @ 6:50 p.m.

Seems to me a lot of hotel building has been going on downtown last several years. Is RevPAR down because total revenue is down or because the number of available rooms is up? Or both?


Don Bauder Jan. 26, 2013 @ 9:59 p.m.

ImJustABill: Just a couple of years ago, any county hotel built or refinanced in the previous five years was under water. Now it's not as bad. But there is plenty of informed talk about ailing hotels, including one owned by a self-styled press baron. Best, Don Bauder


ImJustABill Jan. 27, 2013 @ 6:04 p.m.

Is that the one with the heliport - ERRRR large concrete recreation/fitness area on the roof?


Don Bauder Jan. 27, 2013 @ 9:53 p.m.

ImJustABill: You will have to guess. Best, Don Bauder


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