Visit Rochester seeing conventions bounce back from coronavirus

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A big part of Rochester’s economy is bouncing back from some coronavirus hard times. Visit Rochester said it’s seeing the city’s convention and event business surging.

When it comes to conventions, the CEO of Visit Rochester, Don Jeffries, said Rochester is at a special advantage because Monroe County fully funded Visit Rochester throughout the pandemic, even as convention activity shriveled up.

He said it’s been a different story in other cities where similar organizations lost funding and are now trying to rebuild while Rochester’s convention booking infrastructure is as robust as ever, and now that’s paying off.

"We book about 200 conventions a year in Rochester. And I can tell you, almost every one of those that canceled because of COVID, is right now in the process of rebooking," Jeffries said. "We are really busy. People are coming back. The hotel numbers are up. The restaurant numbers are up. The car rentals at the airport are all up. We are seeing almost coming back to normal."

"Everything that’s planned this year, it’s really starting to feel like we’re getting back to normal and it really is a great feeling," said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello.

At the moment, Visit Rochester is celebrating one return in particular.

The Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) is bringing its career conference back to the riverside convention center tomorrow and Friday.

This is for high school student leaders.

After coming to Rochester for years, DECA actually squeaked in in February 2020, just before coronavirus restrictions kicked in.

Its conference last year was canceled, but now it’s back.