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Each year we attempt to make this column more relevant to our readers by adding detailed information.Our intent is to have our readers hold on to this issue and use as a resource.Some cities use economic impact others report direct spending.To compare one city to the next requires considering variables outside this writer’s expertise.Well, this fourth edition of Black Meetings and Tourism’s annual report on the largest African-American conventions seems to suggest that despite all the doom and gloom pronouncements, African-American attendance appears to be bucking the trend.
Several annual gatherings such as the Delta Sigma Theta sorority and The Links have bi-annual events so they have been removed from our top 25, but rest assured they will both reappear in our 2010 issue.It’s a little too early to tell what 2010 will bring, but one thing is certain, if this jobless recovery continues, events across the board will suffer a decline in attendance.Are African-American conventions forcing suppliers to do more with less because of reduced budgets? Increasing numbers of groups have turned to what many considered second-tier markets to offset cost and keep their attendance up. Louis, Baltimore, Jacksonville, Columbia, SC, Cincinnati, Kansas City, MO and Nashville are prominent players in this evolving marketplace along with our first ever entry from north of the border.The first entry in our top 25, the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education attracted 55,000 to Detroit.Collectively, attendance at most African-American events held steady as compared to 2008 and some actually experienced a slight increase such as the NAACP’s 100th Anniversary gathering held in New York City.
The Delta’s will visit New Orleans in 2010 and The Links will descend upon Detroit in the summer of 2010.