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Business Observer Monday, Jan. 11, 2021 1 year ago

Hospitality industry confab picks area for major late summer event — in person

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Group’s event is expected to provide a major economic boost for the region’s hospitality industry later this year.

TAMPA — Connect, a prominent national hospitality industry marketing company, will hold its annual Connect Marketplace trade show at the Tampa Convention Center later this year — in person. 

The event, scheduled for Aug. 30 through Sept. 1, is expected to provide a major economic boost to downtown Tampa hotels and the region’s hospitality industry as a whole. The Marketplace, Connect’s largest event of the year, will bring together more than 1,500 meeting planners with industry vendors, suppliers and properties and provides premium programming with keynote speakers and other vital information, according to a statement. 

The meeting planners who attend are responsible for booking in excess of 20,000 meetings at destinations, resorts and hotels worldwide. In all, more than 3,000 planners and industry participants are expected to attend, the release states. 

Connect Marketplace also has grown in stature in recent years thanks to the attendance of former U.S. presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Retired NFL superstar Peyton Manning and actress Nicole Kidman have also attended in recent years.

“We are so excited to be hosting such a prestigious event like Connect Marketplace, especially at a time that is traditionally our low season,” says Santiago Corrada, president and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay, the region’s tourist marketing agency, in the statement. “Not only does hosting this event set us ahead of other destinations, but it gives our county and our hospitality industry a major boost. I couldn’t be prouder of how hard our team worked to land this highly coveted event.”

Chris Collinson, Connect’s president, describes Tampa as a “coastal gem” with a convention center, hotels and cultural attractions that are “second to none.”

Connect Marketplace also will follow a major expansion to the Tampa Convention Center and the addition to the city’s hotel inventory of the 26-story J.W. Marriott Tampa Downtown hotel, which is part of the $3 billion Water Street Tampa development.

 

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