The biotech industry convention that brought nearly 16,000 biotech professionals to Philadelphia in June will be back in 2019 - a major business win for the city's hospitality industry and the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
The Biotechnology Industry Organization's BIO International convention is expected to fill more than 27,000 total hotel-room nights and generate more than $41 million for the region upon its return.
"My experience was nothing but positive," said Scott Whitaker, BIO convention president, describing BIO's show in June.
The organization had hosted a convention in Philadelphia in 2005, but "we needed to have the Convention Center expanded" before BIO could return, said Fritz Bittenbender, executive vice president of the trade association.
"Their decision to rebook Philadelphia . . . within mere months of hosting one of their most successful conventions here speaks volumes about their experience and solidifies Philadelphia's standing as a major player within the global convention industry," said Jack Ferguson, outgoing chief executive of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The official announcement is expected Wednesday at the bureau's annual luncheon for 1,200 hospitality professionals and city officials. The luncheon, at the Philadelphia Marriott, will also honor Ferguson, who is retiring Dec. 31.
Taking over will be Julie Coker Graham, now the bureau's executive vice president.