Toronto to host 2012 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference

Toronto has won the bid to host next year’s World Partner Conference for Microsoft Corp., Tourism Toronto announced at a press conference Wednesday.

The announcement comes as the 2011 World Partner Conference wraps up in Los Angeles. That four-day conference attracted more than 15,000 delegates.

Tourism Toronto prepared the bid with provincial and local partners. The Microsoft bid was about a year-long process, according to Andrew Weir, Tourism Toronto spokesman.

“Some of these things are like winning the Olympics,” he said in an interview.

One unusual thing about the conference is the “very short turnaround,” Weir said. Some converence bids are won as much as 10 years in advance.

Most of the action will take place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and the Air Canada Centre, home to the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and NBA’s Toronto Raptors. But many of the 500-plus associated events will take place at other venues, and Tourism Toronto predicts at least 32 hotels will host delegates.

“We anticipate about 50,000 hotel (room-nights) will be consumed,” Weir said.

Based on per-delegate spending calculations, “we would expect about $52 million” in economic impact on the city, though he called that estimate “conservative.”

Toronto won the bid against “a couple of other major cities,” though he wouldn’t name them. “Just like when we lose one, we don’t want them saying, ‘We beat Toronto,'” he said.

The WPC is deemed a “city-wide conference,” which is defined as one the hosts guests at three or more hotels and uses at least 1,500 rooms on its peak night. Weir said the city books eight to 13 of these in a typical year. Others slated for Toronto this year include the American Bar Association (20,000 delegates, U.s Green Building Council (25,000) and the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (7,000).

The conference will run from July 9 through 13, 2012.

According to Tourism Toronto, meetings and conferences brought $495 million into the local economy in 2010.

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Dave Webb
Dave Webb
A journalist of 20 years experience in newspapers and magazines. He has followed technology exclusively since 1998 and was the winner of the Andersen Consulting Award for Excellence in Business Journalism in the eEconomy category in 2000. (The category was eliminated in 2001, leaving Webb as the only winner ever.) He has held senior editorial positions with publications including Computing Canada, eBusiness Journal, InfoSystems Executive, Canadian Smart Living and Network World. He is currently the editor of ComputerWorld Canada and the IT World Canada newswire.

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