Las Vegas’ drastic drop in meetings and conventions business over the last several months has forced the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to suspend a plan to expand and renovate the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The LVCVA board of directors last week voted to delay the $890 million project until the middle of 2010. The decision comes after the LVCVA reported that the city had seen more than 300 meetings and conventions canceled over a three-month period, leading to a loss of more than 100,000 visitors and an estimated $131 million in spending.

The LVCVA also reported that in January the number of meetings was down from the previous year by 19.5 percent, while attendance had dropped by more than 20 percent. Weekend occupancy rates were down by 3 percent, while weekday occupancy rates were down by a whopping 18 percent.

The loss of so much business has led the LVCVA to expect a $53 million shortfall in room-tax revenues. Even with plans to cut its operating expenses by 3 percent, the decline in room-tax revenue would have made it extremely difficult for the LVCVA to continue with the project without risking default, considering the capital expense and debt that continuing with the project would have entailed.