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Coronavirus costing Huntsville millions as conferences go virtual

The Space and Missle Defense Symposium kicked off Tuesday, but just like so many other things, virtually. The Coronavirus pandemic caused the large conference to move online, which was a costly loss to the city.

Posted: Aug 4, 2020 6:16 PM
Updated: Aug 5, 2020 4:37 PM

The Space and Missle Defense Symposium kicked off Tuesday, but just like so many other things, it is being held virtually.

The coronavirus pandemic caused the large conference to move online, which was a costly loss to the city.

The conference brings in thousands of people to the city of Huntsville every year. With it going virtual this time around, a lot of local industries are going to be dealing with a huge financial loss."

"It's never good news when we learned that we're having one of our conventions [virtually] this year, but we totally understand why things are being cancelled," Jamie Koshofer, the Vice President of Conventions at the visitor's bureau said.

"The Space and Missile Defense Symposium brings in over a million dollars in economic impact into our city, and that goes into our restaurants, our hotels, our attractions and all our hospitality partners here."

Koshofer said they're asking the community to support local businesses to recover some of the loss. But, all the city and the bureau can really do is stay positive and hope for a better year in 2021. 

"That's all you can do is remain positive and work each day to bring more business to Huntsville, and that is going to continue to bring more visitors and tourists here to the Huntsville/Madison county area, and that's what we do we keep promoting that message," he said.

Sponsors of the conference say they're happy the symposium stil was able to be held this year, even though it was virtual.

"We get to hear all the different customer perspectives,the other industry perspectives, what kind of threats we're going to be addressing in the future, what kind of programs they're executing and milestones so it's still going to be important to gather all that information it's just going to be different in how we get our messages out," Patricia Dare, of Raytheon, said.

Koshofer said right now they have rescheduling certain conventions for later in the year or next year, which he says is also helping recover some of the losses.

He said they're hoping they still keep the same number of attendees when in-person conventions restart.

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