There’s been a lot of speculation as to what the future of business travel and conferences will look like. Some believe that we will never return to the level we experienced before the pandemic, and that would be a shame. While we can accomplish a lot via Zoom or other online communication tools, nothing can replace the benefit of connecting in person. Oftentimes I find that the most valuable information is shared during those after-conference happy hours, connecting during dinners or sharing a chat while waiting at the airport to catch a flight back home. We also know how important the conference business is to our local economies, particularly our hotels and restaurants. While we in Downtown Santa Monica have been fortunate to experience a rebound in leisure travel, we know that our hotels desperately need more guests who are in town for business.
These are the reasons why I am urging you to please consider attending the International Downtown Association’s 67th Annual Conference & Marketplace in lovely Tampa, Florida, on October 20-22, 2021. Our friends with the Tampa Downtown Partnership were so excited to host and share their beautiful city with us all during our last Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, and I know how disappointed they were when IDA was forced to postpone the conference because of the pandemic. I am so excited that they will have another opportunity to welcome us.
The 2021 conference will highlight Tampa’s transformation from an emerging metropolitan area, to one of the fastest growing regions in the United States. Major Florida cities have activated and invested in their waterfronts, using the natural environment as the ethos for the future, culminating a series of emerging districts with distinct character, purpose and design — this is not the Florida of the past. The eclectic urban areas of Tampa Bay are diverse and vibrant, embracing our cultural heritage while diving deep into a new decade of development.
I know budgets are tight. But if you are in a position to fund this opportunity to network, learn and share your accomplishments, particularly after what has been one of the most challenging times for all of us, I encourage you to sign up for the 2021 Annual Conference today. I hope to see you there!