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I’m not suggesting revenues and profits have returned to 2006 levels as that is beyond the scope of this article, but based on pure number of attendees, we’re back in a big way.Attendance at conventions for the top 25 organizations listed on the pages that follow is over 300,000.

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The market dropped 5,000 points in just a few months – millions lost their jobs.

We had officially entered a terrible recession with talks of another Great Depressions. Three years later our economy remains sluggish at best.

But as I compared what I wrote back in 2006 to the 2011 version, one thing jumped out – the overall attendance of African-American themed meetings and conventions is significantly higher than pre-recession levels.

Several of the more vocal pundits among us predicted long-term sustained growth with no end in sight – the euphoria was contagious.

When I re-read the article on top African-American conventions I wrote six years ago it was filled with quotes from well respected sources about growth potential of the overall market and how African-American meetings were contributing mightily to that growth.

Along comes the summer of 2008 and signs of an economic collapse were imminent, but we continued to ignore the obvious.The dam had cracks, but we were all drunk on economic prosperity.This is the sixth year Black Meetings and Tourism has tracked the top 25 African-American conventions by attendance. It was pre-recession and the global economy was humming along.The stock market was at record levels and access to capital was never easier. Meeting and convention attendance and corresponding revenues were off the charts. Hotels expanded capacity and increased room rates in disproportion to the actual rate of growth of the overall economy believing those good times were here to stay.Consumers were spending money as if they actually owned the banks and the Federal Reserve.Property values rose faster than the Space Shuttle.

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