Utah's convention visitors bring $186 million into the state each year, but that figure may begin shrinking if the Salt Palace can't keep up with the competition in other states.
The convention center in Phoenix is already larger than the Salt Palace, and centers in San Jose, Denver and San Diego are expanding, according to information presented Wednesday to the Salt Palace Feasibility Task Force."We couldn't compare ourselves with San Francisco, Los Angeles or Las Vegas because of additional factors such as gambling, size and proximity to hotels," said Truman Clawson, committee chairman. "But we do compete with Phoenix and we sometimes lose conventions to them. The same with San Jose, Denver and San Diego. That's why we picked those."
By the time San Jose, Denver and San Diego finish expanding, Salt Lake City will have the smallest convention facilities. The city has 200,000 square feet in exhibit space, an 18,000-square-foot banquet room and 18 meeting rooms considered to be of sufficient size. (The report said 17 meeting rooms are too small.)
For comparison, Phoenix has 43 meeting rooms of sufficient size, San Jose is expanding to 44 meeting rooms, Denver is expanding to 66 meeting rooms and San Diego is expanding to 32 meeting rooms.