Naturally, Visit Indy refuses to identify the 12 groups it claims turned down Indianapolis as the site of a convention because of their supposed perception of Indiana as a place of intolerance based on its passage of a religious freedom law. The only group the media figured out on its own was a group that has been hosting its convention for the past 38 years in Las Vegas. What Visit Indy and their shills in the media won't tell you is why the International Association of Fairs and Expositions stated on its own website it was leaving Las Vegas and moving the convention to San Antonio. The IAFE moved its convention to San Antonio because it was miffed that Las Vegas presented a proposal with higher room rates than San Antonio and other competitors, including Indianapolis. Here's how the organization explained its decision to leave Las Vegas on its website:
Since the inception of the IAFE event about 38 years ago, according to Jim Tucker, CEO & President, Las Vegas has always hosted the annual gathering, although at different venues - first at the Stardust Hotel & Casino property, then in 1974 switching to the MGM Hotel (now Bally's) - then in 1995 switching to the Las Vegan Hilton before making a return to Paris & Bally's.
But it seems that Las Vegas has outgrown the IAFE and showed little interest in giving the IAFE an acceptable proposal. Las Vegas was named the Trade Show News Network's No. 1 trade show destination for the 21st consecutive year in 2014, which noted that Las Vegas hosted 60 of the largest trade shows in the U.S., up from 53 in 2013. Las Vegas is hot among trade show organizers, and a reported $9 billion is being invested in its meeting and convention properties and related infrastructure.
When the IAFE issued its RFP for the its meeting after 2017, Las Vegas was a reluctant suitor and the fair industry felt spurned.
In a letter to IAFE members announcing that the last Las Vegas IAFE convention will be held in 2017, Tucker somberly noted: "Only one Las Vegas hotel submitted a bid on the 2018-2019 Convention. That hotel's proposed room rate was the highest of all responding hotels in the final review."
Tucker told CarnivalWarehouse, that proposal from the MGM Grand, "was approximately 1-1/2 times the projected costs of any other location."
In addition, "the hotel demanded an unreasonable minimum guaranteed expenditure for food and drink at the convention," which he clarified to be " 2 times higher than current expenditures."
The most egregious deal breaker was a new stipulation - which Tucker admitted he had never received from a Las Vegas property - a penalty for members booking at non-convention hotels. According to Tucker, there was a non-negotiable clause that made the association liable for upwards of $250,000 if too many attendees sought less expensive rooms from non-MGM hotels. The stipulation is particularly problematic for the IAFE's Annual Convention & Trade Show. The event is operated concurrently with events by the Outdoor Amusement Business Association (OABA) and the Showmen League of America (SLA). Some conventioneers attend both events, although not renting rooms in the official convention hotel, skewing the room block numbers.Do you see any mention of Indiana and intolerance in that passage? Only Advance Indiana has been telling you the truth about these ongoing wars between cities like Indianapolis which are hanging their economic growth model on building bigger and better convention facilities to compete in an increasingly competitive convention industry market. State and municipal governments are each investing tens of millions of dollars annually to lure conventions. It's become a bidding war, and the bribes groups like Visit Indy are paying to these convention planners for the opportunity to host these conventions is an outrage. The truth is that the IAFE chose to leave Las Vegas and move its convention to San Antonio because they got a better deal from San Antonio. It also probably didn't hurt that San Antonio's climate in December is a bit more favorable than Indianapolis' unpredictable winter weather.
Who knows why the other 11 conventions chose another city over Indianapolis. I guess Tom Brady could have told reporters after the Patriots' two-point loss to the Broncos on Sunday for the AFC Championship that his passing performance lagged because he doesn't cheat like some of his competitors and take performance enhancement drugs. If he had that competitive advantage, he would be looking at another Super Bowl. Similarly, Visit Indy could go to state lawmakers or city leaders and tell them they're losing out in the battle to host conventions because they don't have enough money at their disposal to bribe convention planners to host their conventions in Indianapolis. That would have probably been a more honest explanation for losing the 12 conventions, but the blame it on RFRA meme rules the day.