Here's the pimp---oops, press---release from the Sac Bee today:
Jehovah's Witnesses conventions to boost Sacramento economy
For eight weekends a year starting next summer, up to 6,000 delegates will bring a measure of relief to the region's recession-weary hotels and restaurants.
"It's really going to trickle down to a lot of different folks in the hospitality industry," he said.
Landing the Jehovah's Witnesses was considered so monumental that Mayor Kevin Johnson joined convention bureau officials at a press conference earlier this week to make the announcement.
Testa said the timing is especially fortunate because most Sacramento hotels earn the majority of their revenue during the workweek, when visitors come for state business. The vacancy rates climb on weekends, he said.
What's more, the Jehovah's Witnesses have agreed to schedule their conventions on those weekends when the Sacramento Convention Center is available.
He said attendees generally bring their own lunches but will buy breakfast and dinner in town.
Next year's events will include five gatherings for English-speaking members and three for Spanish speakers. The English-speaking meetings will draw up to 6,000 members; the Spanish-speaking ones will draw up to 5,300.
While the deal with Sacramento lasts five years, Testa said the Jehovah's Witnesses typically extend the commitment beyond the initial contract.
Area hotels have taken their share of hits during the recession. Consulting firm PKF Hospitality Research says room occupancy in the region will drop 12 percent this year. PKF said average room rates are dropping about 8.5 percent from last year, to $95.52 a night.
The Jehovah's Witnesses holds regional conventions in 82 cities; Sacramento will become the 83rd. Delegates will come from as far away as the Oregon border.