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St. Louis County, Missouri Officials Being Asked for $250,000 to Help Pay for Convention
of Officials Who Decide Where to Hold Conventions

By Phil Sutin, St. Louis Post-DispatchMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

May 25, 2011--Convention and tourism officials want St. Louis County to provide $250,000 in hotel and motel tax money to help pay for hosting a convention of officials who decide where to hold conventions -- the American Society of Association Executives.

The gathering will be Aug. 6 through Aug. 9 at the convention center in downtown St. Louis. The group last met here in 1979.

The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission will host on Aug. 6 a concert on the Gateway Arch grounds that features musical styles that have thrived in St. Louis -- ragtime, blues, jazz, rock and roll and rap. The public can attend this event.

The convention is expected to draw about 2,800 association executives in a total of about 5,500 people who would attend. They will have the opportunity to visit such places as the Missouri Botanical Garden and restaurants in the Central West End and Clayton.

Making a good impression on these delegates is critical to the area getting conventions, Kathleen Ratcliffe, executive director of the commission, told the caucus of the St. Louis County Council today.

The association's gathering, a commission document said, "is our opportunity to show them that St. Louis is a world-class destination for their meetings and conventions."

Association members plan 375,980 meetings, expositions and seminars a year, the report said. The events draw more than 287 million attendees a year, the document said. The members sponsor 47 of the top 50 tradeshows each year, the document said.

"This prestigious industy considered the 'Super Bowl of Conventions,' the document said.

The commission saved $1 million in the past four years to use for this convention and has received various in-kind donations, but the total money cost for commission activities is $1.5 million, she said in an interview.

At the council meeting later today, County Council Chairman Steve Stenger, D-Affton, introduced a bill to appropriate the money.


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