Letters to the Editor

Sacramento’s convention center is vital to city’s future

Visit Sacramento COO Mike Testa writes that Sacramentans should nurture all the attractions that draw visitors to their city.
Visit Sacramento COO Mike Testa writes that Sacramentans should nurture all the attractions that draw visitors to their city.

Re: “Are private players already lining up to help make Sacramento a ‘destination city?’ ” (Marcos Bretón, June 1): In Marcos Bretón’s column, Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council President Barry Broome says Sacramento’s convention business never fully recovered from the economic downturn and has decreased 30 percent in the past five years. That’s wrong.

Hotel room nights generated from conventions and meetings increased by 44 percent from 2012 to 2016, and Visit Sacramento’s overall output of tourism-related hotel bookings has grown by 86 percent during that period.

By saying Sacramento’s future is music, not conventions, Broome discounts one of the largest contributors to our local economy. Becoming a center of excellence for music already is a part of Sacramento’s story.

Sacramento hosts the state’s largest outdoor rock festival. Golden 1 Center ranks No. 4 nationally in terms of paid attendance at arenas. Live music has been a significant part of that success. Without question, we should continue growing that visitation platform.

But our convention center will always be the biggest driver for booking hotel rooms, and therefore hotel tax revenue, and for economic activity generated at restaurants, bars, retail stores.

We should nurture all the attractions that draw visitors to our city. This is why we share and applaud Mayor Darrell Steinberg’s vision of creating assets that will make Sacramento more attractive to visitors.

There is tremendous potential to create jobs and grow revenue by investing in the region’s $3 billion tourism industry. Tourism attracts outside dollars to our city and improves the quality for those of us who live and work here.

Mike Testa, chief operating officer, Visit Sacramento

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