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More than 900 members of Atlanta’s hospitality industry gathered at the 97th Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB) Annual Meeting on April 15. The meeting honored Centennial Olympic Park’s impact on Atlanta’s $11 billion tourism industry and revealed an outstanding first quarter sales report.

The theme of the event, “Your Journey Begins Here,” recognized Centennial Olympic Park as every visitor’s starting point for exploring Atlanta. Approximately $300 million in new attractions, hotels and restaurants have opened around the park in the last five years and more than $285 million worth of new attractions are planned around the park in the next four years. The park connects the fourth largest convention center in the U.S., the Georgia World Congress Center, with 12,000 hotel rooms within walking distance, providing a compact convention district.

Seven of the nine citywide conventions held in Atlanta during the first quarter have met or exceeded attendance goals by 15 percent. Additionally, Atlanta booked more than 15 major tradeshows in the first quarter, resulting in 330,000 total hotel room nights for future years. In 2010, Atlanta will host 19 citywide conventions including 11 of the 200 top conventions in the U.S.

The PGA TOUR Championship announced its commitment to Atlanta through 2016, retaining East Lake Golf Course as the host for the event.

“The PGA TOUR Championship draws approximately 100,000 fans to town and gives tremendous broadcast exposure around the globe,” said William Pate, chief executive officer and president of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Atlanta aligns itself with the best high-profile events in every sport. We have a long history of hosting championship sporting events.”

The Bureau officially announced Ken Bernhardt, professor of marketing and special assistant to the dean for at the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University, as its new chairman of the board of directors. In addition, Bureau Member and Volunteer of the Year awards were given to Cooper-Atlanta Transportation Services, Inc and Gordon Price, regional vice president of Brochure Displays, Inc., respectively. 

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