|By Julie Dunn, The Denver Post
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Oct. 31--Five meetings and conventions scheduled for New Orleans -- with a total estimated economic impact of $20 million -- have relocated to Denver through the end of 2006, according to the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Another five meetings, with more than 30,000 attendees and an economic value of $57 million, are tentatively planning to switch to Denver.
"It's a significant amount of business," said convention bureau president Richard Scharf.
The New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau was forced to cancel all meetings scheduled for the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center through March 31 after Hurricane Katrina. It asked its colleagues across the country to offer discounted rates to the displaced conventioneers.
The groups coming to Denver include the National Hardwood Lumber Association, which is bringing 750 attendees to the Adam's Mark Hotel this week, and the National Apartment Association, which will bring 5,000 attendees to Denver in June.
The bureau has had to turn down another $100 million of business looking to relocate from New Orleans due to lack of availability, Scharf said.
Denver voters will decide Tuesday whether to approve a 1 percentage point increase to the city's lodging tax, which would provide an additional $4 million annually to the convention bureau to promote Denver as a destination for tourists and conventioneers.
If approved, Denver's hotel tax would increase from 13.85 percent to 14.85 percent.
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