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The San Diego Convention Center has booked 88 future events last year – a record since the facility’s expansion in 2001 – translating into the sale of at least 1 million hotel rooms, officials said Friday.

In a press conference designed to promote both the city’s tourism sector and the upcoming Comic-Con, a Superman knockoff flew up the stairs of Convention Center to deliver a check for $40.6 million to Mayor Jerry Sanders and City Councilwoman Toni Atkins. The check symbolizes the estimated amount those bookings will generate in hotel-room tax for the city.

The 632,160 out-of-towners who will be drawn to those 88 events will have a $1.9 billion economic impact on the city, convention center officials said.

The hotel-room tax, which is a 10.5-percent surcharge paid by visitors staying at the city’s various hotels, is split between a promotions budget and the city’s everyday operating fund. The promotions spending plan funds marketing for the city and arts and cultural programs. The everyday budget, known as the general fund, pays for police, libraries and recreation centers.

Comic-Con, a behemoth convention that turns out the sci-fi, comic book and Dungeons & Dragons faithful, will be held from July 20 to July 23. I strongly recommend grabbing a margarita or soda pop at Fred’s Cafe on Fifth that weekend to watch the parade of costumed conventioneers stroll by.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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