SHOT to stay in Vegas, CITA Wireless conference to bring 42,000 to NOLA in May 2012

March 24 2011 | Latest News
Thursday, March 24, 2011
By Jaquetta White

Business writer

The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center -- New Orleans failed in its bid to lure a major national hunting and gaming conference to the city from its decade-long home in Las Vegas, an official with the meeting hall said Wednesday. But the facility has been able to persuade a large telecommunications conference to steer its meeting here, the official said.

The Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show and Conference, or SHOT Show, has told the convention center that it will remain in Las Vegas, the city it left New Orleans for almost a decade ago, said the center's vice president of sales and marketing, Tim Hemphill. The convention center, along with the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, tried earlier this year to win back the 51,000-attendee event, suggesting that it meet in New Orleans in January 2013. Show organizers considered New Orleans' pitch but Hemphill said they ultimately decided they were not ready to move.

"They just couldn't make the leap this soon," Hemphill said.

The convention center has, however, confirmed that it will host the 42,000-attendee CTIA Wireless conference in May 2012. The conference is a trade meeting for members of CTIA The Wireless Association, an international nonprofit that has represented the wireless communications industry since 1984. The annual trade show is one of the largest technology events in the world.

New Orleans, which has been on the show's regular rotation in the past, has not hosted the citywide convention since 2005. The city also had not originally been in the running to accommodate the 2012 event, which typically books several years in advance. But organizers moved the event's date back from March to May and needed to find a new host city as a result of the change, Hemphill said.

"This is huge," Hemphill said. "In the past a meeting of this size would take four or five years to germinate."