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DENVER-Although Denver, as with other cities, is expected to suffer at least short-term drops in business travel, experts tell GlobeSt.com they see no reason to re-evaluate the doubling of the size of the Colorado Convention Center in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Denver, at a cost of $268 million, plans to double the size of the convention center to 600,000 sf.

The project would include a new, 5,000-set auditorium.

“My best comparison is to the Gulf War,” Eugene Dilbeck, president and CEO of the Colorado president of the Denver Metro Conventions & Visitors Bureau, tells GlobeSt.com. “When the war broke out, business travel ground to a halt for three or four months. I expect we’ll see a decrease in travel in this country until people feel comfortable and secure in travel again. I don’t know how long that will be. It will be up to the federal government.”

Long-term, he says, he expects that business and convention travel will be a growth industry.

“Short-term, there is no doubt that there will be some fall out,” he says.

John Montgomery, president of Denver-based Horwath Hospitality Consulting/Montgomery Associates, agrees.

“In the convention center big picture, I see no long-term negatives from the tragedy,” Montgomery tells GlobeSt.com. “If it were opening next week, or next month, it would have some impact. But the convention center’s opening is still three or more years away. My basic belief is that we will learn how to travel again. People are squeamish about flying today, but six months or nine months from today — or at some point — it will be different, assuming the situation is somewhat under control. I think eventually, Denver will garner more than its fair share of business travel.”

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