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Gaylord Entertainment, the company proposing a waterfront convention center in Chula Vista, is spurring some of the uneasiness in Washington, D.C.’s event planning and tourism industry that has been seen here in San Diego, The Washington Post reported this week.

Washington tourism officials are concerned that the 2,000-room Gaylord facility that is set to open in 10 months in a nearby Maryland suburb will siphon away business from the nation’s capital, according to the article.

“They’re hiring all of our sales staff from our hotels [because] they want to take as much business as they can from the city,” said Emily Durso, president of the Hotel Association of Washington, D.C. The sheer size of Gaylord National is daunting. “It’s as if you move all the Baltimore hotels and the Baltimore convention center to Prince George’s County.”

It’s a scenario that city of San Diego tourism boosters have worried about for the downtown San Diego Convention Center since a South Bay convention project was first proposed.

The Port Commission, which oversees the land that will house the Gaylord resort, says it is satisfied that it would complement and not draw business away from the larger convention center in San Diego. The port reiterated those plans last month when it shot down the company’s designs to expand the convention center space that is slated for its resort.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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