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F-M CVB says economic slowdown evident before Sept. 11

By Dave Thompson

Fargo, ND – The executive director of the F-M Convention and Visitors Bureau says hotels and restaraunts around North Dakota were already seeing a dropoff of business prior to September 11th.

Cole Carley says a weak economy meant business travel was starting to decline before the attacks.

"I think that post-9/11, some companies have used that as an excuse to cut back even more on business travel. Since business travel is the largest occupant of hotel rooms in Fargo-Moorhead and possibly North Dakota, certainly nationwide, that affects us."

Carley says the F-M-C-V-B has chopped $30,000 off of its $800,000 budget, based on projections that the cities' lodging taxes will be off.

"Well, that means some advertising that we can't run, it means some trade shows that we can't attend. It means cutting back on things like enhancing our web site to make that even better. We have not lost any staff people, and that's the last thing we would do."

Carley says hotels in Fargo-Moorhead have come up with some creative ways to attract people. He says one of the more successful promotions was offering hotel rooms at-par for Canadian visitors.