As the millennium approaches, cities across the country are building new convention centers and expanding existing ones. But to thrive in an increasingly competitive market, centers must offer much more than exhibit space. "It's kind of amazing," says Michael Hughes, manager of research services, Tradeshow Week Custom Research in Los Angeles, referring to the convention center boom. "The interesting thing is [the growth] is across the board. First-, second-, and third-tier cities have been ...

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