Fredericton convention centre misses targets
Other Maritime cities are planning new convention centres
Fredericton's new convention centre failed to hold as many events as it originally projected in its first year of operation but its general manager says the facility is still a success.
The $28-million convention centre opened its doors in 2011 but it attracted only 192 events.
The centre’s managers had estimated the new facility would host 220 events during its first year of operation.
Cathy Pugh, the centre’s general manager, said the year was not a disappointment even though it missed its targets.
She said the initial estimate depended on the opening of an attached office tower and a nearby hotel.
When neither of those proposals happened, Pugh said the centre's management and the city lowered the target to 190 events.
She said the centre was able to meet the reduced number of events.
"So when we were budgeting and doing a forecast for the opening year we looked at those two factors that didn't happen and we knew we had to decrease it," she said.
"Our operating expenses decreased as well so financially we exceeded our revenue targets."
Pugh said the facility’s management has kept the goal of hosting 190 events for 2012. So far, the centre has held 168 events.
Fredericton is going to have increased competition as it tries to lure future events to the city. Other Maritime cities, such as Moncton, Halifax and Charlottetown, are planning new convention centres.
Moncton’s convention centre concept is contingent on a broader plan to redevelop the city’s downtown.
A Saint John tourism agency is also trying to convince its city council to fund new improvements to its aging convention centre.
Scott Ferguson, the chief executive officer of Trade Centre Ltd., the group working on the new Halifax convention centre, said these facilities will need to entice groups from outside the region to use their centres.
"It's also about the type of events that you can attract and if you can attract more events from outside the region than your economic impact is going to be greater," he said.
The Fredericton convention centre has five national events booked for 2013, according to Pugh.