The backbone of the St. John's tourism business appears to be solid for the forseeable future.
Destination St. John's already has large convention bookings for 2016 and 2017.
Far from being hurt by the recession, the city of St. John's actually saw convention bookings increase in 2009 - the only major city to do so, according to Krista Cameron, sales and marketing director for Destination St. John's.
"In Canada, we're the one destination that always tends to exceed - we get record attendance numbers," she said.
Destination St. John's is a private company operated by a consortium of tourism operators on the Avalon, Burin and Bonavista peninsulas.
Convention tourists tend to be in town for a full week attending meetings and seminars, and then frequently extend their stay to explore the island.
An annual convention held in St. John's generally attracts more delegates and sells out sooner than the same convention held in Toronto a year later, because people are looking for a good excuse to visit Newfoundland, St. John's Mayor Dennis O'Keefe said
"The tourism industry in the city of St. John's is worth in the vicinity of $300-325 million annually, and a large, large portion of that comes from conventions and annual meetings," he said.
Destination St. John's attends trade shows every year with representatives from hotels, and pays to bring convention planners to visit the city to check the place out.
Cameron said about 90 per cent of the people they bring to town end up choosing St. John's for their event.
"St John's really sells itself. We just add the bells and whistles," she said.
All of this is leading to more bookings further in advance and expanding the convention season.
"Peak season used to be mid-May to mid-October," Cameron said. "We're seeing a growth of the season, where it's starting more in mid-April and going into November in some years."
The Delta hotel, for example, is already sold out for November 2012, Cameron said.
As one of the primary people who books conventions, Cameron said she's looking forward to increasing the city's capacity for conventions and meetings by expanding the St. John's Convention Centre.
A formal announcement is expected in the fall, but there are plans in the works to double its size from 16,000 square feet to 32,000 square feet.
Cameron said they'll also be looking to divide the main room in the convention centre, making it more versatile for different kinds of meetings.
"I can't wait for it," she said, adding that she's not the only one. "Theres a lot of hotels holding land right now, waiting to the convention centre announcement."
O'Keefe said it's actually a little bit embarrassing that with strong bookings - and bookings so many years in advance - that sometimes they have trouble accommodating meetings that want to come here.
"I guess it points to the fact that we need more hotel space," he said.