DETROIT (WWJ/AP) –  Conventions in Detroit and bookings for hotel rooms will be up in the coming year.

That’s according to Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau president and chief executive Larry Alexander, who told business leaders Wednesday that his group has confirmed 236,000 room nights for 2014 compared with 129,000 in all of last year.

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Convention bookings also are up more than 200 percent for this year and 2015.

Alexander credits the increase to the expansion and updates to downtown’s Cobo Center, private sector investment and an aggressive marketing campaign of the city.

(credit: Vickie Thomas/WWJ)

(credit: Vickie Thomas/WWJ)

Conventions include the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses International District Assembly this summer which is expected to draw 90,000 people.

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Alexander says 12 big groups are already planning conventions in the city in 2014.

“The key is we’ve got a brand new facility to sell,” Alexander told WWJ City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas. “When you look at this beautiful Cobo and the $279 million that has been spent here; (renovations are) about 80 percent done.”

“People want to be a part of it,” he added. “They wanna try the new product, and that’s what our job is, to go out there and market and see it so that people see that this is American’s great comeback city.

The recently completed North American International Auto Show drew more than 838,000 people to Cobo over two weeks.

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