Lack of affordable hotel rooms haunts FFA's latest visit to Loui - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Lack of affordable hotel rooms haunts FFA's latest visit to Louisville

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The thousands of blue jackets buzzing around Louisville this week bring millions of dollars into the city, but there's still one thing Louisville doesn't have that's forcing its biggest convention of the year to move elsewhere.

This year's FFA convention starts off on a high note for thousands of students, but Louisville will soon be singing the blues as the blue jackets are packing up and moving back to Indianapolis next year with plans to stay there  through 2024.  

"It's a lot different here versus Indy," FFA Officer John Johnson said. "The setup is a lot different being at the fair and expo center. It's nice being this close to home since the travel isn't so far, finances aren't as bad."

"I love Louisville," FFA's Kristy Meyer said. "It's wonderful, the people are wonderful and you've got some great restaurants. It's a great city."

But there's one thing Louisville doesn't have, enough low-cost hotel rooms to accommodate the more than 60,000  students who attend the conference. FFA members fill 135 hotels within a 60-mile radius of Louisville.

"It's about having a really good experience for the students, so when they're 60 miles out they won't necessarily have the same experience as someone who's staying downtown. So that's some of the things the FFA is looking at," Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau representative Kat Gallagher said. 

While Louisville loves FFA, it's losing its biggest convention for now and the $40 million it pumps into the local economy.

"It was a board decision to move from Louisville and one of the blessings is our membership has grown so much, so we want everyone to be able to attend. The downside is we need more hotels and more space," Meyer said.

Louisville will have another shot at getting the FFA convention back.

In 2017, the group will be taking bids for its 2025 convention. 

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