Von Braun Center books 500 people conference

Large convention booked at the VBC

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The Von Braun Center booked a conference that is expected to bring 500 professionals into the Rocket City next year, and experts said this conference could help bring in needed dollars to our local economy.

In May, around 500 people will meet at the Von Braun Center for the annual Society of Government Meeting Professionals National Education Conference. But what’s that mean for the Rocket City? Judy Ryals with the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau said this conference will hopefully lead to more.

“All these meeting planners will come and it’s a tour of our market,” Ryals said. “So each one will be able to bring in meetings for the future.”

Marie Arighi with the Von Braun Center said all these government planners have a combined buying power of $1.2 billion.

“That is the amount of money, or the amount of impact that their local conferences would have on the local economy,” Arighi said.

To have this scheduled during a pandemic, VBC leaders said is a light at the end of the tunnel after a hard year.

Samantha Nielsen with the VBC said the convention center was set to hit record numbers in 2020 until the pandemic struck.

“Events started cancelling and postponing back in March and it rocked not just us but our whole industry,” Nielsen said.

Now with a vaccine in sight for the general public they’re looking forward to the future.

“Regular people want to travel, they want to go to restaurants and do things, so when the vaccine starts to unroll we will see more events come back online,” Nielsen said.

This conference will also be hybrid so there will be virtual participants.

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