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Between getting there, staying there, eating and drinking there, and all other activity, attendees of the two major-party conventions will be responsible for spending an estimated $360 million in their host cities this year, according to a projection from the U.S. Travel Association.
That spending total splits straight down the middle for the two events—$180 million each for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland July 18-21 and the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia July 25-28.
Including indirect and induced impact, a total of $600 million in economic output—$300 million for each convention—is expected to be generated for both host regions. That total could support 1,800 jobs in each place, or 3,600 jobs in total.
“You’re going to hear a lot from the candidates about their plans to create jobs,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “It might give some people pause, but one of the easiest ways to do that is to hold more conventions. The economic activity associated with these kinds of events is extremely compelling, and we aim to make sure our policymakers understand that.”
U.S. Travel’s impact prediction encompasses expected spending by attendees on items such as lodging, meals, transportation and general retail, as well as spending by each host committee, funding for security, etc.
Throughout its 75-year history, the U.S. Travel Association has conducted extensive economic research on domestic and international travel activity. This includes frequent economic impact studies of major travel-related events, such as meetings, conventions and holidays, as well as significant interruptions like severe weather events and government shutdowns.
U.S. Travel economists generated the convention impact figures using hotel data provided by the travel research firm STR, as well as other travel and economic statistics. The organization’s goal is to highlight the substantial and positive economic and jobs impact of large, in-person meetings such as the political conventions.
Some of the combined numbers for both conventions:
- Total projected attendees: 100,000-120,000
- Delegates: 10,000-12,000
- Media members: 30,000-36,000
- Other visitors and participants: 60,000-72,000
- Average daily trip spending per attendee: $300
- Hotel/other lodging room nights: 148,500
- Total lodging revenues: $33 million
U.S. Travel is amplifying its message that travel is “serious business” with an advertising campaign targeted at convention attendees. The organization has placed ads extolling the economic value of the political conventions at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and in Amtrak Acela trains in the Northeast Corridor.
Additionally, U.S. Travel will have a branding presence at each convention’s POLITICO Hub, oases featuring refreshments, speakers and entertainment. U.S. Travel-sponsored items at those venues will include several convention “necessities”—including charging stations for electronic devices, pillows, chewable coffee and oxygen bars.
Said Dow: “Conventions and in-person meetings are an absolutely vital creator of accessible, good-paying, un-exportable jobs in this country. An effective way to remind our policymakers of that is to make sure the message is front and center while they’re all in one place.”
A more detailed version of the impact predictions by U.S. Travel researchers is available here.