Atlanta tries to turn away business?

When it's coming from meetings displaced from New Orleans, it is, according to this article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

    Mark Vaughan doesn't normally try to talk convention planners out of bringing their business to Atlanta, but that's exactly what he's been doing lately with groups committed to holding meetings in rival New Orleans.

    Atlanta has gotten a boost from the 10 conventions with about 122,000 attendees that will relocate here over the next two years because of Hurricane Katrina. Yet when groups approach Vaughan and other Atlanta officials about moving a show, the first thing they do is encourage organizers to keep the event in New Orleans.

    "We tell them we would prefer they respect their contract and honor their agreement with New Orleans," said Vaughan, executive vice president of sales and marketing for the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, an agency that recruits meetings to Georgia's capital. "We are trying to be a good neighbor."

Atlanta also is a partner with New Orleans in promoting the region, along with Nashville. While I applaud the sentiment, if the meeting is leaving NOLA no matter what, it makes sense for another Southern city to pick it up and keep the region humming. I'm hoping for the best when conventions start heading back to the Big Easy this spring, but I still have reservations on how prepared the city will be to handle a large convention. I hope I'm wrong.

P.S. Here's an interesting article on measuring the cost of hotel interruption from Katrina, from hotel-online.

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