Atlantic City, the NJ conventions and the stuff they bring, are coming back

ATLANTIC CITY – When COVID-19 closed this gaming complex in March 2020, other activities also came to a screeching halt, including events at the Atlantic City Convention Center.

But despite what one might assume about the traditional in-person convention model, gatherings were quickly able to resume virtually or in a hybrid configuration thanks in part to the efforts of Meet AC, a public-private partnership formed by Casino Reinvestment. Development Authority. .

As an example, Meet AC President and CEO Larry Sieg said his group worked with the Northeast Pool & Spa Show organizers to build a soundstage at a local warehouse to adjust the offers of this show.

“In fact, a lot of people have said to me, ‘Once the pandemic hits you have nothing to do’, and I said no, once the pandemic hits it’s actually when the real work started, ”Sieg mentioned.

With assembly limits lifted in New Jersey for some time now, Sieg said conventions have been “huge” recently, although he made it clear that conventions themselves are often just a vector of. increase in economic activity for the city.

“We are not built to generate income or profit,” he said. “The convention centers were built as an economic engine to the destination, and that is exactly what we are doing.”

To put some numbers behind that, Sieg said that a particular conference the center hosted last week drew 2,000 attendees, 3,000 room nights in area hotels and generated $ 2.3 million.

The convention center is a state-owned building, so masks are mandatory indoors, but it is up to the organizers and individual events, not the venue itself, to decide whether COVID vaccinations or testing negatives are needed.

Sieg said the center is doing everything possible to ensure the safety of attendees as well as employees and staff, so that conventions can continue without interruption.

“People, I think, are very impatient and hungry for face-to-face meetings again,” he said. “The Atlantic City Convention Center is extremely sensitive when it comes to ensuring that it is a safe and clean environment. “

Later this month, the Convention Center will host the Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference October 11-13, the “Dino Stroll” for families on October 23-24 and the WILD Dance Intensive also on October 24.

Then in November, the long-standing annual conventions of the New Jersey Education Association and the League of Municipalities will return.

“We are delighted to be back and to say that Atlantic City is definitely open for business, and we look forward to welcoming everyone,” said Sieg.

Patrick Lavery is the anchor for the New Jersey 101.5 afternoon news. Follow it on Twitter @ plavery1015 or send an email to

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