The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) in Chicago recently completed a short survey of 11 randomly selected events held in major U.S. cities between October 3 to 17 to see how attendance patterns were in light of 9/11 and the ongoing war on terrorism.

According to CEIR, 36 percent of the events met or exceeded their attendance projections. The remainder fell below projections, but most projections were off in the 8-to-15 percent range, according to a CEIR news release. The largest attendance decline was at the National Safety Council at 30 percent. All of the events reported only negligible exhibiting company cancellations, according to CEIR.

The events were held in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Orlando, and Philadelphia. They ranged from medical to gaming and technology and had an overall net attendance of 124,680 and involved more than 2,600 exhibiting companies occupying more than a million square feet of exhibition space.

"This research suggests that people are attending meetings and exhibitions despite travel restrictions and event schedule changes," said Douglas L. Ducate, president and CEO of CEIR. "Second, this illustrates how incredibly important the meetings and exhibition is to the economy. Without the thousands of travelers, parallel industries such as airlines and hotels would suffer even greater losses."