CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The Southern Baptist Convention said this week that their 2023 convention, which had been planned for years in Charlotte, could likely be moved due to lack of space.
The annual meeting was to take place at the Charlotte Convention Center. Southern Baptist Convention officials told Queen City News on Friday that the space now needed for the meeting is more than double what the convention center can currently handle.
“We were on average 5,700 people at the meeting. Now we’re averaging around 9,700, and we’re expecting 10,000 to 12,000 in Charlotte,” said Jonathan How of the Southern Baptist Convention executive committee. “The facility, at best, could only hold about 8,000 people with our showroom and meeting space.”
The vote, which is scheduled for next week, would likely move the convention to New Orleans. Howe said the city of Louisiana was the only one available for the conference, given time and scheduling constraints.
Charlotte is keen to host conventions and large business meetings due to the economic impact the city can have in terms of additional spending on hotels, restaurants, and shopping.
In a statement, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority said: “We continue to improve our ability to meet the needs of meeting organizers and their attendees, and the recent expansion of the Charlotte Convention Center means we are able to continue and host the vast majority of conventions that take place in the United States”
Southern Baptist Convention officials noted that space availability and growing attendance were the only concerns in the decision-making process to decide whether to move away from Charlotte.