P.E.I. convention bookings up 75%

Prince Edward Island is expecting a big year for meetings and conventions in 2014.

Prince Edward Island is expecting a big year for meetings and conventions in 2014.

Convention bookings are up 75% next year over what they were this time last year. Meetings and Conventions PEI told CBC News by the end of October 42 large conferences were booked for 2014, compared to 24 last year. That will mean an extra 4,000 delegates.

Executive director Michael Matthews credits two reasons for higher bookings.

"The first one is the Convention Centre is open, and that gives us the ability to do bigger events. This is really just the beginning of that. It only opened in August and a lot of groups are reluctant to book until they know that it's firmly open," said Matthews.

"The other thing is 2014, and that's been a really positive example of Islanders taking pride and being what we call local champions and bringing those events to P.E.I."

2014 marks the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference that led to Confederation, and celebrations are planned throughout the year.

Meetings and Conventions PEI has also increased its staff over the last year, hiring a person in Toronto to work on out-of-province bookings. The association has also been attending more trade shows and industry events, and making more sales calls.

Some of the bigger meetings coming to the Island in 2014 are the Canadian Federation of Municipalities in February and the Communities in Bloom National Symposium in September.

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