Washington - The CTIA Wireless show will return to New Orleans in 2012 for the first time since 2005, and the show will be held later in the year than ever, on May 8-10.
Exhibitors "wanted to use the show as an advantageous opportunity to launch products focused on back-to-school and fourth quarter retail cycles," CTIA VP and show director Robert Mesirow said of the date change.
Secondarily, CTIA public affairs VP John Walls pointed out, pushing back the show until early May gives exhibitors and attendees some time to recuperate after January's CES and February's Mobile World Congress, which has been pushed back next year from mid-February to Feb. 27 to March 1.
The main reason for the date change, however, was to give handset manufacturers and service providers the ability to promote new products and services before the back-to-school selling season and provide all parties, including retailers, a leg up on what to plan for around the fourth-quarter holidays, he said. "We spent time over two years monitoring the opinions of exhibitors and attendees," Walls noted.
The show is returning to New Orleans because it "provides our attendees with a centrally located and culturally rich destination" and because of $92.7 million in improvements to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, $400 million in hotel improvements, a $250 million upgrade of the Louisiana Superdome, and an increase of 300 restaurants since 2005, CTIA said. The convention center is one of the largest meeting venues in the U.S., and it's centrally located not only for attendees coming from other countries, the association added.
CTIA's spring show hasn't been to New Orleans since 2005, but the decision to leave New Orleans for Las Vegas in 2006 show had nothing to do with 2005's Hurricane Katrina, Walls said. Instead, CTIA planned before the hurricane to leave New Orleans because of "a lack of support at the time." There were fewer hotels than there are now and fewer flights into and out of the city, he pointed out. Such issues have since been "addressed in abundance," he said.
CTIA has also worked with the city to ensure enough cabs are available at the convention center when the show lets out for the day, a spokesperson also told TWICE. End-of-day cab shortages were a chronic problem in past years, attendees have complained.
This year's show is scheduled for March 22-24 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., where about 40,000 attendees are expected to show up.