Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

August 19 2013

Big Frustrations at Big Convention Center

By David McMillin

Typically, an announcement of new trade show dates doesn’t warrant media attention from outlets like Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, but most of those announcements don’t normally come from a governor’s desk.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made some not-so-nice headlines with his recent decision to reward the National Marine Manufacturers Association with optimal mid-January dates for its New York Boat Show at the Javits Convention Center. While Gov. Cuomo touted the move as a helping hand to repair an industry hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, the dates will displace the NY International Gift Fair, Business Journal’s MRket Show, Texworld, the National Retail Federation and the Action Sportswear and Street Wear Show - - shows that appear to represent bigger revenue opportunities for the city’s hotels and restaurants. The ripple effect has Friends of Javits, a collective of more than 50 trade show organizers at the Javits Convention Center, up in arms.

“Moving the Boat Show at this juncture will displace many other events and result in grave consequences for trade show and event organizers, local New York businesses, New York laborers and the Javits Center itself in the coming years,” the group wrote in an open letter to the Governor’s office.

SEE ALSO: Event Planners Continue to Feel Sandy’s Impact

It looks like the group’s efforts to draw public attention to Gov. Cuomo’s decision is paying off. The National Retail Federation received word that its 2014 and 2015 show schedules will remain unchanged.

“While we remain concerned about the unilateral and unprecedented decision by Governor Cuomo to move the New York Boat Show to mid-January starting in 2015, we are grateful for the accommodation by the Javits Center,” Bill Thorne, senior vice president, NRF, said. “NRF hopes that they can equally accommodate other important trade shows, meetings and events impacted by the governor’s actions.”

SEE ALSO: 3 Updates on Convention Centers

This is good news for the NRF, but there is no word yet on the status of the other impacted shows. Regardless of what happens with these specific events, the members of Friends of Javits point out that Gov. Cuomo’s actions may damage the reputation of the Javits Center in the minds of other meeting professionals.

“By favoring the New York Boat Show, an event that has been declining, other shows could opt to take their business to competitor cities,” the organization said.

There is no doubt that managing a convention center’s calendar must be a balancing act that keeps customers and partners happy while ensuring that decisions are in the best interests of the area’s bottom line. Stay tuned for this developing story to see how Gov. Cuomo responds to the industry’s call to reconsider his decision.

Please log in to post comments.