Safari Club Backs Out of Contract With RSCVA - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Safari Club Backs Out of Contract With RSCVA

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Reno has hosted the Safari Club International Annual Hunters' Convention 15 times since 1989.

It was set to return in 2015, but that all changed Wednesday morning.

The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA) had an agreement with Safari Club International, but the Safari Club made it clear, it won't be back in 2015. 

For the RSCVA, the news is tough to swallow.

"It's an unfortunate situation," says Ben McDonald with the RSCVA. "We had Safari Club International contracted for 2015."

An unfortunate situation because the convention brings in $20 million to our local economy each year.

"We're talking about 20,000 room nights, a lot of them mid week," says McDonald. "We're looking at January-February timeline which are traditionally tough to make up."

The Safari Club says it has seen great success in Reno the last two decades.

"Each and every year we go there, they always bend over backwards to make us feel welcome, and do an excellent job," says Phil DeLone, CEO of Safari Club International.

However, in the last few years, a decrease in airline service has become an issue. DeLone says Reno-Tahoe International Airport offers only 54 flights a day.

"Which is insufficient when you're trying to bring 18,000 Safari Club members and exhibitors from 100 different countries to one destination," he says.

The news comes as a surprise, but the convention was already set to leave Reno later this decade. The event will be held in Las Vegas in 2016 and 2017 and now, 2015 as well.

"I think the difference with Vegas is a little bit more of an international recognition that you really only get out of four or five major cities in the country," says McDonald. "So, it's very hard to compete with that."

The RSCVA and Safari Club both say they have a good working relationship, and a possible reunion isn't out of the question.

DeLone says he hasn't booked a location for the convention in 2018. The hope is that air service in our area will improve by then.

Written by Adam Rasmussen

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