Moving targets

The B.C. Pavilion Corp.'s most recent annual report concedes the number of days out-of-province delegates spent attending events at the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre was "marginally" lower than forecast in fiscal 2007/08. But that difference - 152,000 versus 147,119 delegate days - would have been less marginal if the corporation hadn't lowered that forecast.

When initial planning for the convention centre expansion project was completed in 2002, the number of delegate days for fiscal 2007/08 was estimated at 199,983. But, according to the corporation's fiscal 2004/05 report, "events of 2001 significantly reduced non-resident visitors to Vancouver." A review was conducted to "ensure that expectations can be realized." And the corporation's forecast was lowered to 151,646 in fiscal 2006/07 because "growth in attendance at VCEC has been slower than anticipated in previous plans."

Asked for comment, convention and exhibition centre communications director Deborah Carty explained the original target was based on KPMG Inc. projections "which used numbers before 9/11, SARS and increased competition from other convention centres." So, in 2005, the convention centre and Tourism Vancouver "re-commissioned KPMG to update their projections" - taking into account those factors. And that's where the new forecast came from.

The coporation states delegate days "is the first priority and primary performance indicator" for the convention centre.

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