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Back-to-back hurricanes may dampen meeting organizer enthusiasm for Florida

Yeah, hotel rates may be cheaper during hurricane season, but you take a risk that you’ll pay the price if the odds are against you and a Charley or Frances hits while your meeting is in town. The back-to-back gack-splats Florida’s gone through lately have officials worried that meeting planners might rethink Florida as a destination for their event, at least through the worst of the season. And they’re concerned that other states nearby will use Florida’s bad fall to steal away more of its business.

    "We're going to have to salvage the meetings industry in Florida," Nicki Grossman, head of the Broward County convention bureau, told state tourism leaders in a conference call Tuesday to discuss the impact of Frances.

    The threat of lost conventions emerged as the top concern in South Florida as tourism officials assessed the storm damage sustained by the region's top industry. They accused Sun Belt competitors of trying to woo conventioneers with warnings of South Florida's hurricane problems.

And now, with Ivan the terrible ripping up the Caribbean, this PR problem is probably going to grow.

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