Orlando Profits from Success of International Builders’ Show

Orlando, Fla.–This year’s International Builders’ Show–Orlando, Fla.’s biggest convention–may be a cash cow for Orlando, according to the Orlando Sentinel.As builders flood in for the show, which has brought 100,000 people to Orlando each year since 2005, organizers, tourism officials and Orlando-area businesses are hoping one of their most lucrative annual events helps the economy. In 2007, the convention added $147 million to the local economy, according to the Sentinel.Attendees visit the city’s International Drive and local retail and dining areas, theme parks and restaurants; they also fill 20,000 rooms in area hotels. Some businesses are hopeful that won’t change despite the current housing decline, which prompted concern that less builders would attend the show.”We’re looking real strong for all week,” said Jeff Coyle, operating partner of Vito’s Chop House, which has been taking reservations from builders for the past six months. “We have a lot of return business.”According to the NAHB, advance registration was down just 12 percent as of Monday, which they were pleased about. “[That’s] terrific, considering all the factors,” said Wayne Stetson, senior vice president of the National Association of Home Builders’ convention and meeting group. “We could have seen registration drop 25 or even 30 percent.”Many attendees register upon arriving, so final numbers aren’t in. Last year, 104,000 people attended; this year, the NAHB would be happy with 95,000 to 98,000, Stetson said.The 2007 and 2008 shows were scheduled for Atlanta, but proved too large for the facilities and were moved back to Orlando. The National Association of Home Builders show will be held next year and in 2010 in Las Vegas; it will return to Orlando in 2011.