Earlier this week, a concerned citizen who had gone on an open-records-request fishing trip at City Hall sent me 1,200 pages of emails related to VisitDallas. I dutifully read the 20-page section that the concerned citizen drew my attention to, made some calls, and learned that there was nothing worth reporting. But, of course, that left 1,180 pages of unexplored emails. So I dug around a little bit, thereby mixing the fishing metaphor with what I guess would be a mining metaphor. Something like that.
In any case, last month, as City Council was having a hard look at VisitDallas’ contract (up for renewal next year), the organization apparently asked some of its clients to write letters of support. Most of the ones I read were pretty boring. One was not. Here is the letter that Steve Pitt, from the National Automobile Dealers Association in Tysons, Virginia, sent on November 8. I have highlighted my favorite parts:
Dear Dallas City Council:
As I understand you will be voting later this month to possibly not renew Visit Dallas’ contract with the city of Dallas.
As your customer, NADA needs Visit Dallas to provide the support for staging a successful Convention and Exhibition. Their assistance to city-wide users, navigating and interfacing with the Convention Center, Hotels, Public Facilities, private venues, local transportation and city government, is critical for us to achieve a successful event. This team of professionals makes a huge difference and has played a role in our decision to choose Dallas for our convention site.
We have just contracted with the city of Dallas to bring the National Automobile Dealers Association’s Convention and Exposition there, which is the “Automotive Industry Event of the Year” to your great city in 2023. We will use over 12,000 rooms, along with your entire Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas. In addition, we will bring in over 600 exhibiting companies and will hold over 300 functions and meetings in restaurants, hotels and private venues during this two- week period. We estimate the convention will bring in over $60 million and generate substantial tax revenue for the city.
Working with Visit Dallas is key for NADA to produce a successful event. You have got to be Out Of Your Minds to consider not supporting a full contract renewal for Visit Dallas. Clearly billions of future dollars could be at stake here for the city of Dallas. I urge you to vote in favor of the Visit Dallas contract renewal that will benefit your great city and community beyond your realization.
Finally, keep in mind our Board is considering returning to Dallas again in 2027. At this point and time, we are putting a hold on moving forward with those plans until the city makes a positive decision with Visit Dallas.
Please feel free to call me if you have any questions or would like to discuss this further.
Stephen R. Pitt
Senior Vice President, Conventions & Expositions
National Automobile Dealers Association
When it comes to writing letters of support, Steve Pitt Does Not Mess Around. I know I speak for our great city when I say that we look forward to hosting the auto dealers in 2023. As for 2027, if they don’t visit, that will be their loss. By then, most of the construction on Garland Road will be complete!