The National Automobile Dealers Association's decision to move its 2021 convention online means New Orleans, like cities across the U.S., will see more economic loss from yet another trade show cancellation during the pandemic.
New Orleans convention hall's losses on full display
NADA Chairman Rhett Ricart, a dealer and trustee of the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority in Columbus, Ohio, is well aware of the economic effects of such events being called off. Major events in the Ohio capital have been canceled through the first quarter of next year. Nationwide, the economic loss has surely been billions of dollars, he said.
"I can tell you that it's affected every single convention center in the United States of America," Ricart said. "And it's to the point that most of these convention centers you'll see in the future will require additional government subsidies to be able to keep them afloat."
The virtual 2021 NADA Show will mark a unique end to the tenures of Ricart, who's in a rotating one-year role, and Peter Welch, who is retiring after eight years as NADA's CEO.
"I might be the first chairman in NADA history who didn't have to ever shake anybody's hands," Ricart joked.
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