Oracle cited attendee safety concerns in announcing it is cancelling its annual OpenWorld conference in San Francisco and moving it to Las Vegas starting in 2020 after holding the event in San Francisco for more than 20 years.
First reported by CNBC, the Silicon Valley-based technology giant said it has signed a three-year deal with Caesars Entertainment to hold the conference, which brings attracted upwards of 60,000 attendees, at the new Caesars Forum conference center.
San Francisco Travel estimates the move will cost San Francisco approximately $64 million per year and 62,000 room nights over the five-day conference, which was to be held in October 2020, October 2021 and September 2022.
Oracle cited “poor street conditions” and attendee feedback about exorbitant hotel prices as the two key reasons for the move.
San Francisco Travel provided Meetings Today with the following official statement regarding the decision by Oracle:
“We are sorry to Oracle OpenWorld move to Las Vegas after more than 20 years in San Francisco, but we will be booking other events to fill that space in the future. For additional information, please contact Oracle.”
Second Major Citywide to Leave San Francisco
Oracle’s OpenWorld is the second citywide conference that traditionally held its annual meeting in San Francisco to leave, citing safety concerns and unsanitary conditions caused by the city’s homeless crisis.
In July 2018 the Chicago-based American Anesthesiology Society announced it would not hold its annual meeting in San Francisco.
San Francisco Travel President & CEO Joe D’Alessandro has been very proactive in addressing the city’s homeless crisis in relation to its desirability as a top-tier meetings destination.
[Q&A: SF Travel CEO Speaks Out on Safety Concerns]
“It’s a risk for someone like me to be vocal about these issues to the media, but travel and tourism is San Francisco’s number one industry and plays a huge factor in the city’s economy,” D’Alessandro told Meetings Today in the wake of the American Anesthesiology Society decision.
“I thought it was time for us, the most important industry in the city, who represents the voice of the visitors coming to San Francisco, to speak up. It was important to have the voice be heard by elected officials, by the business community and by community groups, so that it can become a priority across the board.”
Meetings Today interviewed D’Alessandro and other San Francisco civic leaders as part of its “Lesson Learned” cover story in the March 2019 issue of Meetings Today.
In 2017, both Apple and Facebook moved their yearly conferences from San Francisco to the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, reportedly due to costs.
Tourism is San Francisco’s largest industry, generating $9 billion each year and $725 million in local taxes, with conventions making up nearly 20% of the revenue, according to San Francisco Travel.
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