RENO, Nev. (KRNV & Mynews4.com)- "It's simply a business decision," said Phil DeLone, CEO of Safari Club International.
SCI was scheduled to hold their convention at Reno-Sparks Convention Center in 2015 but they unexpectedly canceled and will now hold their convention in Las Vegas.
SCI would have made its 16th visit to Reno-Tahoe in 2015, since first bringing the convention to the region in 1989. According to the Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, the annual hunters convention from 2009-2011, and in 2013, contributed an average of roughly 20,000 room nights per year, representing an estimated impact of about $20 million each year.
DeLone says their international interest numbers are growing and Reno-Tahoe International Airport can no longer accommodate SCI. "We have seen a decline in domestic and international air service to Reno in the last five to seven years," said DeLone.
There have been other reports that SCI grew too big for the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. "Declining air service is the primary reason. Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority has been very accommodating," said DeLone.
Krys Bart, President of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority was unavailable for comment. "We had additional air service when they [SCI] needed it," said Brian Kulpin, Communications Director for the airport.
Kulpin says there has been some diminishments to air services and it is occurring at medium hub airports across the country. "We're continuing to fight that battle," said Kulpin. Kulpin says it's up to the community and the RSCVA to fill the seats.
Chris Baum, President and CEO of the RSCVA says they are working with the Airport Authority. Baum says they recently launched a new marketing campaign and hired two new national sales managers. As for replacing SCI, Baum says "Relatively few events bring 20,000 room nights. We are currently working to bring the X-Games here in 2015, February of 2015."
Baum says in the past week the RSCVA booked 40,000 room nights spread across multiple conventions. News 4 has requested booking sheets from the RSCVA for the next 10 years.