Vote today on turning some convention center marketing over to Visitors Bureau

City News Service

The San Diego Convention Center Corporation Board of Directors was expected to vote today on a disputed plan to turn over some of its marketing efforts to the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau for the next 30 years.

The center has its own sales staff to pursue meetings, trade shows and other gatherings of organizations interested in coming to San Diego, but city officials want ConVis to market the center for events that are at least 14 months away in order to reduce a duplication of efforts.

Groups that hold the biggest conventions usually schedule them several years in advance.

Opponents of the plan see it as a power grab by hoteliers, who would be the major source of funding for a $520 million expansion of the center. Opponents include leaders of unions representing hotel employees.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that the mayor wants to hand over control, essentially privatize, our award-winning convention center to politically powerful hotel owners,” Lorena Gonzalez, the head of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, told the City Council earlier this year.

The change is part of an amended management agreement between the city and center corporation. The corporation board was originally scheduled to have voted on it Monday but postponed action until today, while the City Council was scheduled to take it up at this afternoon’s meeting.