The BIO International Convention is on its way back to Boston, five years after its last visit to the Hub set all-time attendance records.
The conference attracted a record 22,366 visitors back in 2007, but attendance since then has dragged significantly, falling to 20,108 in San Diego in 2008 and to 14,352 this year in Atlanta, according to a BIO International spokesperson.
Still, event organizers, city and state leaders were optimistic at a press conference announcing the convention’s return, predicting an even larger turnout in June 2012 and millions of dollars in economic benefits for the city.
“We promise to equal, if not better, the huge success of BIO 2007, and will work diligently to ensure the 2012 event and others help enhance our biotech industry,” promised James Rooney, executive director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, in a prepared statement.
Rooney has reason to be hopeful; the last BIO go-round was the largest event his facility ever hosted and generated $24.1 million for the city, according to the press release — or $1,077 and change per attendee.
Early estimates have the 2012 event generating more than $30 million for Boston, with more than 26,000 conventioneers projected to attend.
“By bringing the BIO International Convention back to Boston and drawing the world’s attention once again to our state’s inherent strengths, we can and we will create both the immediate and long term economic impacts that benefit businesses, workers and families across the Commonwealth,” Gov. Deval Patrick pledged.
“BIO 2007 left an indelible mark on Boston,” added Mayor Thomas Menino. “The event was an economic boon to local hotels, restaurants and businesses, and showed the world that Boston is a leader in the growing biotechnology industry. I am proud that our city can host this monumental event again in 2012.”