Coverings Moving to Chicago for Alternate Years

Chicago, IL, October 24, 2005 -– Chicago’s convention and meetings industry received another significant boost as representatives from the Coverings show-- one of the top tier events in the U.S -- voted today to come to McCormick Place in April of 2007. For the past 18 years the Coverings show has been held in Orlando and other cities. It has represented the entire spectrum of sales, marketing and distribution for tile and stone products. Coverings-- ranked 34th in the Trade Show 200, a measurement of the largest shows in terms of exhibit space -- is the largest tile and stone marketplace in the Western Hemisphere with more than 1200 exhibitors from all 50 states and more than 90 countries. More than 70% of its exhibitors travel from outside the U.S. to attend. More than 32,000 people attended the 2005 show – which will put Coverings in the top tier of conventions and trade shows coming to Chicago. The vote today by the Coverings board cements a commitment that its annual show will now rotate between Chicago and Orlando -- with Chicago hosting the show in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013. The 2007 show at McCormick Place is expected to generate approximately $55 million in direct expenditures in Chicago. “We are thrilled to have attracted the Coverings show to Chicago,” said Leticia Peralta Davis, chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA). “The addition of this show highlights the success we have in selling our facilities, our new labor agreement and Chicago and its cultural and business opportunities.” Today’s announcement comes on the heels of recent news about the strength of the city’s convention and business travel industry with Chicago assuming its position as the #1 U.S. destination for business travel. “Our decision was based on our desire to grow — and McCormick Place and Chicago matched these needs perfectly,” said Rick Church, executive director of the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA), a sponsoring organization of the show. “This is a wonderful business opportunity for us to increase attendance, increase exhibitor space and to attract a broader group of attendees from the Midwest. We are excited with the prospects of coming to Chicago and having our attendees and exhibitors enjoy this great world-class city.” “Chicago’s hospitality community looks forward to our new partnership with one of the industry’s premier shows,” said Bill Utter, Acting CEO of the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau (CCTB). “The economic strength of our region, world-class offerings and a commitment to the meetings and convention industry has helped many events here exceed expectations. We firmly believe that adding Chicago to its rotation will help Coverings achieve great success in the years ahead.” Coverings’ announcement of their plans to move their show to Chicago comes on the heels of the MPEA’s new, customer-oriented labor agreement, announced earlier this year, which will enhance customers’ experiences while lowering costs of doing business at the nation’s premier convention facility. The agreement includes an expansion of the hours when customers pay straight-time wages, new rights to exhibitors to perform their own work, new auditing procedures and the formation of the Labor Management Council to constantly review labor issues. The Coverings show is sponsored by Assopiastrelle (Association of Italian Ceramic Tile and Refractories Manufacturers), ASCER (Spain‘s Ceramic Tile Manufacturers Association), TCNA (Tile Council of North America), CTDA (Ceramic Tile Distributors Association), and NTCA (National Tile Contractors Association). Coverings is the premier forum for business, networking and hard surface education in the tile and stone industry. “We welcome Coverings to Chicago,” said Ted Tetzlaff, chairman of the MPEA. “Our future is exciting and the addition of this great show to our line-up is another sign of that future. The entire MPEA family is committed to making Coverings

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