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DENVER-The Denver Metro Convention & Visitor’s Bureau is launching a ”phone blitz sales bank” Tuesday hoping to bring more business to Downtown restaurants and hotels. ”We got 45 people doing it,” Rich Grant, spokesman for the bureau tells GlobeSt.com.

”These sales manager volunteers will make 5,000 calls to meeting planners across the country,” he adds. “They want to find any short-term stuff out there to fill hotels.”

Some hotels have seen occupancy drop by 50% or more since Sept. 11, although traffic is beginning to come back. Still, it’s not at the high levels it was before the terrorist attacks.

In a sister campaign, the bureau, the Downtown Denver Partnership and the Shop Denver program launched its ”Denver for $99 or Less,” program. More than 30 hotels are offering package deals or room rates for $99 a night or less.

Newspaper ads, direct mail and radio and TV spots are primarily aimed at people who live within a 600-mile radius of Denver who might consider driving here. The program runs through January.

”It’s doing great, it really is,” Grant tells GlobeSt.com. ”The Omni International hotel (in the Interlocken Business Park in Broomfield) told me they received 17 calls on the first day. And that was just off their Web site.”

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