The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) staff will study the possibility of moving the industry’s National Trade Show out of Louisville because the recession is jeopardizing funding for an expansion of the Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center (KFEC).
During its meeting in Washington on Tuesday (June 11), the RVIA Show Committee instructed Mary “Mike” Hutya, the association’s vice president of meetings and shows, to have a report completed by September about possible alternative sites for the show, which has taken place in Louisville every year since 1962, except for 1987, when it was in Atlanta.
Orlando and Atlanta are at the top of the list of possible alternative sites, although the show would not move from Louisville until 2005 at the earliest, with 2006 being the more likely possibility, Hutya said.
Kentucky officials have on the drawing board a plan for expanding the South Wing of the KFEC, but the funding for the expansion is in doubt because Kentucky politicians have been unable to agree on a new budget for the two-year period beginning July 1.
Additionally, the recession caused Kentucky tax revenue collections to fall below expectations so the latest budget proposal from Gov. Paul Patton does not include funding for the expansion of the KFEC. “If the economy improves, it (funding KFEC expansion) will be a priority,” according to a spokesman for the governor who was interviewed by the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Hutya told the Courier-Journal that the RV industry would rather keep its national trade show in Louisville, but the show has outgrown the KFEC.
Also, if the show is moved, it would be for a longer duration than one year because the association would have to “pay through the nose” to use a convention facility for only one year, Hutya added.