Chattanooga Convention Center officials on Wednesday cited a sagging economy and a particularly slow June when explaining the drop in annual revenue last year.
According to a financial statement, the Convention Center generated $5.82 million in fiscal year 2008. In 2007, the Convention Center brought in about $5.98 million.
“The economy has slowed,” said Tim Riddle, executive director of the Convention Center. “I don’t think it is surprising to anyone that we have slipped a little bit.”
Jim Hudson III, chairman of the Carter Street Corp., which oversees the Convention Center, said the drop can be attributed to one extremely slow month.
“It would be my hope that you can paint this picture not as an annual drop but a slow June,” he said. “The good news is we have 45 (conventions) on the books (for 2009) compared to 45 last year.”
Records show the Convention Center generated $705,000 in June 2007 but generated only $380,500 in July.
The estimated economic impact to the area also was down last year from $41.2 million in 2007 to $36.1million in 2008.
Mr. Riddle said the comparisons may not paint an accurate picture because 2007 was a record year.
Compared to 2006, the economic impact estimate for 2008 was down about 3 percent. They were about the same as numbers for 2005.
Convention bookings for fiscal year 2009 are up about 5 percent, Mr. Riddle said.
“I think the immediate future looks down a little bit, but long term, everything looks positive,” Mr. Riddle said. “It doesn’t look like any type of economic downturn has really impacted convention bookings all that much.”